Local News

Families can't yet get remains of victims in Durham sect case

Posted October 12, 2011
Updated October 18, 2011

— A Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that the remains of a Durham boy and a woman believed to have been killed by members of a religious group cannot be released to relatives until defense attorneys can have the remains tested.

The bodies of Jadon Higganbothan, 4, and Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 28, were found in June buried behind a house on Ashe Street in Durham. Jadon had been missing since last October, and McKoy was last seen in December.

Autopsies determined that both had been shot in the head.

Peter Lucas Moses, 27, faces first-degree murder charges in their deaths, and prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty against him.

Defense attorneys have until Oct. 21 to review the autopsy and investigative reports and determine if they need to test the remains further, Judge Orlando Hudson ruled.

Prosecutors asked Hudson to rule on the release of the remains after he dismissed a murder charge in a separate case because remains had been cremated.

Hudson ruled in August that authorities had withheld evidence by allowing the family of Lakiea Boxley to cremate her remains last year. Michael Charles Dorman had been charged with murder after Boxley's remains were found in his backpack, and the judge said Dorman's attorneys should have had a chance to test the remains.

Pete Moses in court Previous case affects release of remains in Durham sect case

The judge said Moses' case is different from Dorman's, which he called extraordinary.

Several attorneys for Moses and his co-defendants said they don't intend to keep the families of Jadon and McKoy waiting.

Neither of the families wanted to comment after Wednesday's court hearing.

Authorities have said that Moses led a religious group of women and children who called him “Lord” and feared him. The group lived in a home at 2109 Pear Tree Lane in Durham, and searches of the home early this year turned up evidence of blood, shell casings, projectiles and signs of cleaning.

An informant told police that Moses killed Jadon last fall because he thought the child was gay and ordered that McKoy be killed after he learned she couldn't have children and wanted to leave the group.

Jadon's mother, Vania Rae Sisk, 25, and two other women who lived with Moses, Lavada Quinzetta Harris, 40, and Larhonda Renee Smith, 27, have been charged with murder in McKoy's death and as accessories in the boy's death.

Moses' mother, Sheilda Harris, and siblings P. Leonard Moses and Sheila Moses are charged as accessories in McKoy's death.


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  • justafella Oct 12, 2011

    Adipocere, Jaden was not Anionetta's son. His mother is charged as an accessory to his murder.

  • mfarmer1 Oct 12, 2011

    >> "How long must this family suffer?" So you don't want the perpetrator to go to jail? As YNCSW49 stated the guy was released because they did not have the Evidence (body parts\bones) retained as evidence. My wife just told me I could allow the detectives to keep her bones until the guy was put in jail. I told her the same thing for me. There is no need to allow someone to get away with murder.

  • Vita Brevis Ars Longa Oct 12, 2011

    How long must this family suffer? The very idea this lady and her son rotting in a back yard in Durham for over six months and now the family can't even have closure with a tasteful and much deserved store bought funeral. Such is the cruelty of the modern day world.

  • YNCSW51 Oct 12, 2011

    This more than likely stems from the trail a month back where the guy was walking around with remains in his back pack and the case was thrown out because the remains were given over to the sister for burial. This is so sad because I am sure the family wants closure and putting their love one to rest can start the healing process.