Widow: Slain Moore County deputy touched many lives
Posted January 5, 2012
Pinehurst, N.C. — The wife of a slain Moore County deputy said Thursday that she knew her husband was dead as soon as two deputies arrived at her door last month. She said she just had a feeling that her husband of four decades wasn't coming home.
"It was just a feeling," she said. Seeing her husband's colleagues approach her home, "you know that it's over."
Rick Rhyne, 58, was killed in the line of duty Dec. 8 at an abandoned house in Vass, where he was trying to serve an outstanding child support warrant on Martin Abel Poynter, 33.
Poynter fatally shot Rhyne, then killed himself, authorities said.
"It is crushing," Wanda Rhyne said of her husband's death. "It doesn't matter how many people you have around you, you feel alone."
Wanda Rhyne said her husband was good at what he did – he liked people and people liked him.
"People would call and say, 'I want to turn myself in, but I do not want to do it until you are back on duty,'" Wanda Rhyne recalled.
He served on the police force in the small town of Foxfire for 26 years, eventually becoming chief before leaving to join the Moore County Sheriff's Department. Though he was a beloved law enforcement officer, Wanda Rhyne remembers him as a dedicated family man.
"The hardest part was telling my son he was gone," she said.
About 700 people, including scores of law enforcement officers in uniform, showed up for the funeral in Pinehurst, a testament to how many lives he touched.
"It was a wall of people," Wanda Rhyne said. "That is who he was."
A father, a friend, a public servant and a husband, to Wanda Rhyne, he was everything.
"He was (my) best friend, (my) soul mate, and suddenly, (he was) gone," she said. "Going day by day, it is hard."
But her husband's legacy lives on. Wanda Rhyne keeps a blue candle lit in her window to honor him, and hopes to start a scholarship for first responders in his name.