Body found in Cape Fear River belongs to Linden mother
Posted May 27, 2012
Updated May 28, 2012
Fayetteville, N.C. — The body of a woman was found in the Cape Fear River near Campbellton Landing in Fayetteville Sunday afternoon, police said.
The woman was positively identified Monday as Heather Nicole Smith, 30, of Linden. The cause of death has not been determined and authorities have not said whether they suspect foul play.
Smith was identified by her tattoos and jewelry. It wasn't clear whether she had been reported missing or how long the body was in the river.
Her boyfriend of four years said Smith, a mother of four, was battling a pain pill addiction. Michael Overby, who is also the father of two of Smith's children, said she had been trying to get her life together for her children.
"She loves her kids. She loves them with all her heart," he said. "She was trying her hardest, but she wasn't succeeding."
He said he last saw Smith Thursday night and that nothing seemed out of the ordinary.\
Smith's family members were traveling to North Carolina from Florida Monday to be a part of the investigation.
Overby said they have many of the same questions he does.
"Hopefully I can find some answers (about) what's going on (and) try to stay strong for my kids," he said.
Fayetteville police responded to the scene, near 1122 Person St., around 1 p.m. Sunday after a 911 caller reported seeing a body floating in the river. Police handed the case over to the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office.
The body was sent to the state Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy, which will determine how Smith died.