Local News

Woman Found Dead at Bottom of Stairwell

Posted February 25, 2007

— One woman was dead and her partner arrested after a domestic incident in Fayetteville early Sunday morning.

Authorities were called to the Cambridge Arms Apartments off McPherson Church Road about 4:30 a.m., where they found Michele Vasquez, 27, dead at the bottom of a stairwell.

Detectives have charged Jocquelette N. Rawlings, 20, with first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon.

Neighbor Darren Holland said he heard Vasquez arguing with another woman. He ran up the stairs and then saw Vasquez being pushed off the balcony, he said. He attempted to save her, but failed.

“I grabbed her with my left hand and she slipped through me and fell backwards,” Holland said.

Investigators said Rawlings lived with Vasquez. Friends told WRAL the two had a romantic relationship that was also rocky.

Before the altercation, friends said Vasquez was out celebrating. Sunday would have been her 27th birthday.

Darrell McLaughlin was with Vasquez at local bars the night before. The two met working at the Smithfield Packing Plant in Tarheel.

“She was an outgoing person and really loving,” McLaughlin said. “We've both been through so much. I kind of related to hear and looked up to her.”

Holland said he often heard the two women fighting and remembered what he told them once.

“I said, ‘One day, one of y'all are going to kill each other,’” Holland said. “And then it happened on her birthday.”

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • 0 Tolerance aka Ms.Turner Feb 26, 2007

    DV is no laughing matter and sees no race sex or sexual preference. I know what it's like to loose a loved one and have people judge them by their lifestyle. It hurts a lot.
    May his grace, peace and love be with the family.

  • hollylama Feb 26, 2007

    Thanks for your comments MikeVasquez. Its good to have a person in the forum that knows the individual, its helps provide some insight into her life. I'm sorry for your loss and everyone involved will definitely be in my prayers! I hope your memories of her provide you with some comfort.
    Its ashamed that people who are abused end up in abusive relationships. Michele is most assuredly in a better place.

  • GIGATT Feb 26, 2007

    All ready been through it Crystal Amber so settle down already.

  • Taurus Feb 26, 2007

    mikevasquez - I am so sorry for your loss and will be praying for you and your family. No, it does not matter that your sister was in a homosexual relationship, who are we to judge? She did not deserved to be murdered.

  • Frank Downtown Feb 26, 2007

    The point of law is what should be argued not the morality of a relationship.

  • Crystal Amber Feb 26, 2007

    dfijan - Tell me that again when you have to go through this kind of insensitivity and disrespect!! Bet you wouldn't be saying the same if it was your loved one!!

  • ladiip2 Feb 26, 2007

    it really is a shame how insensitive some people are. lesbian gay or heterosexual a life is a life, abuse happens in all of these relationships. the main point is it is sad for this young lady to have lost her life at the hands of someone else. are you guys saying it would be okay if the killer would have been her boyfriend? you people are saddddd.

  • mikevasquez Feb 26, 2007

    Michele is my sister. I never approved of her being gay and she knew that. I am said she had to die because the suspect abused her. Michele and I were abused all out lives. I warned her about being with this girl and she knew I did not approve. I loved Michelle very much and she moved down there to start a new life. Please pray that god gives her grace and that he forgives the girl that murdered my sister. Please dont make this a gay issue cause I argued with michelle about it all the time. What really matter is i lost someone I loved.

  • GIGATT Feb 26, 2007

    Some of you all need to settle down. The joke was on Mike Peterson (maybe not the right place for it), not the young lady who died and unless I'm blind, I didn't read any comment that was bigotted toward gay people. I did read some horrible comments about wishing this kind of tragedy on others and I think that is hateful and unacceptable Crystal Amber. I feel sad for the ladies involved and their families.

  • Cowboy Feb 26, 2007

    smoothtip99 - while I agree this is very sad and not funny at all, it is strictly your opinion that there is nothing wrong with being gay.