Woman with Raleigh ties found dead in Alabama
Posted January 12, 2012
Rocky Mount, Va. — The remains of a woman who was dating a man from Raleigh were found in Alabama late Wednesday, nearly six months after she was reported missing.
The remains of Shirley Ann Hodges, 64, of Rocky Mount, Va., were found in a wooded area in Cherokee County, authorities said. It is unclear how Hodges died.
In an interview with WRAL News in September, Hodges' daughter, Tracy Ayers, said she feared her mother's boyfriend, Stanley David Crotts, 58, of Raleigh, was involved in her disappearance.
Ayers feared that Crotts had abducted Hodges and killed her somewhere along the 1,100 miles between Franklin County, Va., and Crockett, Texas.
Ayers said 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.
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.
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.
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. 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.