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Family believes Raleigh man abducted, killed Virginia woman

Posted September 14, 2011

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— The daughter of a missing Rocky Mount, Va., woman is searching for answers after her 64-year-old mother disappeared nearly two weeks ago and her mother's boyfriend committed suicide in a Texas motel room two days later. 

Tracy Ayers believes that Stanley David Crotts, 58, of Raleigh, abducted her mother, Shirley Ann Hodges, and killed her somewhere along the 1,100 miles between Franklin County, Va., and Crockett, Texas. Crotts has family and friends in the Raleigh area, and Ayers hopes that someone will come forward with information that leads to her mother.

"We are pretty certain that she has been murdered," Ayers said.  "We are anxious for anyone that may have seen anything."

Investigators in Virginia and Texas are working together to find Hodges, but say leads have been few and far between.

"We don't have anything that gives us any indication of where she may be," Lt. Steve McGuire, of the Franklin County Sheriff's Office, said Wednesday. "It's very frustrating, and I know it's very frustrating for the family. The only person who knows is not able to tell us."

Ayers says her mother met Crotts in 2004 and that they had an on-again, off-again relationship during which they fought frequently about his heavy drinking. She said she recently learned that Hodges had told friends that Crotts was controlling and sometimes violent when he was drinking and that he had threatened to kill her in the past.

Shirley Ann Hodges Daughter desperate for answers in Virginia woman's disappearance

On Aug. 31, Ayers said she spent the morning with her mother before dropping her off at home around 2 p.m. She said Crotts was in the backyard smoking and that they waved to each other. Around 4 p.m., she said, her mother called to say that Crotts had been drinking and "got in her face," and that she told him to leave.

"I said, 'Do you need me to come down there?' and she said, 'No, I've just told him he's going to have to leave. He's going to have to go back to the hotel or go back to his family, whatever. I can't deal with this,'" Ayers said. 

That was the last time she spoke to her mother.

"We do have reason to believe that some harm came to her from evidence collected at the scene (her home)," McGuire said. "I'm not saying she was killed there."

Neighbors reported seeing her car parked at the house around 11 p.m. that night, but said it was gone at 4 a.m. on Sept. 1.

"We are fairly sure she left in her vehicle, most likely not of her own will," McGuire said. 

Ayers tried to call her mother repeatedly on Sept. 1, and she eventually called police after Hodges didn't show up for a planned meeting with Ayers' brother.

Investigators began tracking Crotts' cell phone, which was pinging off towers in Alabama, Louisiana and eventually Crockett, Texas. They contacted authorities there, who tracked Crotts to an Economy Inn, where Hodges' silver 2004 Chevy Malibu was parked.

When officers knocked on the door, they heard a gunshot, said Corporal Vince Baker of the Crockett Police Department. Crotts had shot himself in the face and died two hours later at a Tyler, Texas, hospital. He never regained consciousness and authorities were never able to speak with him, Baker said.

There was no sign of Hodges in the motel room, Baker said, and authorities don't believe she ever made it to Texas.

"We believe she was transported in the vehicle," McGuire said. "(But) there's nothing in between (Virginia and Texas), which is frustrating."

He said searching for Hodges is like trying to find a needle in a "100-mile-high haystack."

13 Comments

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  • FromClayton Sep 15, 2011

    true storchheim. sad, but true.

    protect your self...and above all, protect your babies!

    lonley isnt the worst thing in the world. and there are lots of fishies in the sea. When will women learn?

  • ncdixie1 Sep 15, 2011

    storchheim, truth. The truth if I've ever seen it written.

  • jkrmeme Sep 14, 2011

    storchheim I totally agree with you...as you can tell there's much worse things than being lonely....rather be lonely than miserable and controlled all my life

  • storchheim Sep 14, 2011

    - sigh - I might as well put this in Notepad so I can just copy and paste every other day, but here it is again:

    Do not believe anyone, even your mother, who tells you that having any man is better than no man at all.

    She knew this guy was trouble, and kept him around anyway. Sorry, but I'm slam out of sympathy for these women who are murdered or whose babies are killed by the first or only available man they can find.

    So what if you're alone the rest of your life? At least you, and/or your baby, will HAVE a "rest of your life". This woman won't, the baby in Henderson won't, the Stepp baby won't...

  • nanasix Sep 14, 2011

    God Bless her family. I truly hope they find her and can have closure.

  • rescuefan Sep 14, 2011

    How sad. I hope they are able to find her for her family's sake.

  • Wendellcatlover Sep 14, 2011

    Sounds like another man thought he could pull the "murder, and transport the body" routine. I hope they find her alive and well, but I think the possibility of that is looking slimmer and slimmer with every passing day. I pray for a resolution for the family.

  • africanqueen Sep 14, 2011

    prayers to the family

  • BEACH Sep 14, 2011

    Prayers for her children. So terrible for them.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Sep 14, 2011

    How horrible this must be for the family.

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