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Police Search for Possible Witness to Student's Slaying

Posted January 5, 2007

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— A North Carolina Central University graduate student who was found dead Thursday in an off-campus apartment complex had been shot, police said Friday.

A maintenance worker found the body of Denita Monique Smith of Charlotte at the bottom of a stairwell in the Campus Crossings Apartments on East Cornwallis Road, police said.

Police are looking for black female operating a burgundy Ford Explorer that was seen leaving the area around 8:30 a.m. Thursday. She isn't considered a suspect in the case at this time, police said.

"We need to speak to her. We believe that she may have some information which will allow us to resolve this case," said Cpl. David Addison of the Durham Police Department.

Officers responded to a report of gunshots fired near the apartment complex at about 8 a.m. Thursday, but didn't find anything, police said.

Police said they have interviewed more than a dozen people in the case, although they declined to say if Smith's roommate was one of those questioned.

Smith was a graduate student majoring in mass communications who worked at the campus newspaper and was viewed by many at N.C. Central as a star student. She was engaged to a Greensboro police officer.

"It's an understatement to say that she is going to be missed," said Lovemore Masakadza, a former editor of the campus newspaper. "I don't know which words I can use to describe how she's going to be missed."

NCCU Police Chief Willie Williams said the university would increase security over the next few days to help calm any fears in the community. Patrols will expand from 12 hours a day to round-the-clock, he said, and visitors to the apartment complex are being asked to present identification.

Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the Durham Police Department at 919-560-4440 or Durham CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200.

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  • crash Jan 6, 2007

    I did not know this young women, but from what I hear about her on TV and in the papers she was going somewhere and she was on her way to bigger and better things in life. I think it is so so sad someone did this to her. I hope that the person who do this will be found and brought to justice. My heart goes out to the family of this smart beautiful young women. So So tragic.

  • mjeter1 Jan 5, 2007

    My prayers goes out to this family. I cannot imagine what they are going through. I have a daughter in that area in school so I am very concerned about this situation. I hope they find the person responsible for the crime soon.

  • dmelvin Jan 5, 2007

    You were a beacon of light to all of us at NCCU. I can remember our times walking the sloping hills and verdent greens together to our english classes. I am glad that I have memories of our friendship to keep us always together. My prayers are with the family and to her longtime love. May God continue to bless us in this time of sorrow.
    You will be truly missed. NCCU class of Spring 2004.

  • highergame4me Jan 5, 2007

    This young lady's family is my prayers also!!!!I don't understand why these things have to happen.

  • rebellove4108 Jan 5, 2007

    Its terrible when someone's life is taken from them, especially someone that is so young and has a long life ahead of her. I guess when it's your time to go and be with God then so be it. It's just so sad that it had to be now. God Bless her Family and may God be with them.

  • EagleGirl Jan 5, 2007

    Denita you will be missed. The people that did not get the oppotunity to meet you missed out on a really great person. I pray that the person responsible will be caught and punished.

    Rest In Peace

  • thelegs99 Jan 5, 2007

    My prayers and thoughts go out to the family, of this NCCU student. As an NCCU Grad student, this is very scary, but not the first time that something like this has happen around the campus. It makes no sense at all, to take a life of a innocent person. As far a police being present more, it's about time, because it takes forever for them to get on campus when something happens, ( i.e, a friend gor robbed at gun point in campus and NCCU's police were no where to be found!) There needs to be more done, not just for a few days before classes start back, but all the time. I have classes at night, and am fearful, of walking out alone. Please be safe around the area, and anywhere for that matter, and God Bless.

  • astewart709 Jan 5, 2007

    My prayer goes out to her family. This is so sad. Very smart person.

  • Snoopy Jan 5, 2007

    God dont make the bad things happen, people make the bad things happen...God bless that young lady and her family. you all are in my prayers!

  • glsnapp Jan 5, 2007

    This is truly a sad case. What is this world coming to? What could possible make someone do something like this? I am truly sadden.