Local News

Cumberland County Authorities Investigate Suspicious Death

Posted August 2, 2004

— As part of a death investigation in Cumberland County, deputies talked to the victim's estranged husband Sunday night.

Deputies would not call Jonathan Forte a suspect. But they looked for him all evening after the woman's body was found near Stedman, east of Fayetteville.

Two of the woman's young children were in the home when her body was found.

Investigators worked through the afternoon, snapping pictures, and into the night, bagging evidence and combing through the house for clues. Together, the pieces may explain what happened to 25-year-old Teresa Forte.

Investigators would not say how she died but were treating the case as suspicious.

"The cause of death is unknown," said Maj. Sam Pennica, of the Cumberland County Sheriff's Office. "We'll know more when we get the autopsy report back from the medical examiner."

A neighbor was alerted to the trouble around 4 p.m. She said she heard a child call for help at the front window of the Forte home.

"I head a little girl," Brenda Greene said. "She wasn't really screaming. She was calling for somebody to 'help me, help me and my momma.'"

Said Pennica: "The little girl unlocked the door, and the neighbor found Ms. Forte's body."

Throughout the day, neighbors wandered up to the property to see what happened. One woman became visibly shaken when she learned the news.

Even though they were not calling Jonathan Forte a suspect, investigators talked with him into Monday morning. They hope he can help explain what happened at 6417 Morning Glory Drive.

Teresa Forte's three children were safe Sunday night. The power was cut to the street lamps, so the SBI could conduct a test that would illuminate blood evidence.

Investigators expected to be at the scene most of the day Monday.

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