Local News

Stabbing Victim's Son: 'Everybody Thought The World Of Her'

Posted November 23, 2005

— People in the Durham County community of Rougemont still cannot imagine why anyone would want to hurt Rosalee Crabtree.

The 68-year-old was the type of person who took care of people. She prepared meals for members of her church who were too sick to take care of themselves.

She had a powerful effect on people. As many as 1,500 people came to her visitation earlier this month.

"People kept coming up to us, hugging me and asking what happened to Miss Rosalee -- that's what they called her, Miss Rosalee," Tony Crabtree said. "She was just a very loved lady. Everybody thought the world of Mother. She was just that type."

Like many people in the community, Tony Crabtree wants to know who killed his mother and why.

Since his father's death a year ago, Crabtree knew his mother was not completely comfortable being alone in her house on Chambers Drive. That is why it was his first stop every morning. But on the morning of Monday, Nov. 7, he knew something was not right.

"When I pulled in every morning, she was always looking out the window or at least the lights were on," Crabtree said. "That morning, the lights were not on."

Crabtree walked in an open door to find his mother stabbed to death with a pair of scissors on the living room floor.

When Rosalee Crabtree was killed is still a mystery. Her grandchildren followed her home from church that Sunday night and she later spoke to her brother on the phone.

Investigators believe the killer's intent was robbery. Crabtree confirmed items from the home were missing. He worries the killer may be someone his mother knew because she would not open the door to a stranger.

"No, she would not open it up to a stranger and when she went in, she locked the door," he said. "There's no doubt about that."

Investigators are now reviewing surveillance video from a nearby convenience store, Village Convenience Store. They say they have good evidence, which includes fingerprints and DNA.

And as Crabtree spends this Thanksgiving without his mother, he said her presence will give him strength.

"I still come by here every morning," he said, sitting on his mother's front porch. "All I want is justice to be served. She did not deserve any of this. She was a lady just coming home from church and was getting ready for bed."

And until there's an arrest he said he will still be looking out for her.

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