Local News

Raleigh Murder Solved 20 Years Later, Victim's Son Surprised

Posted July 6, 1999

— A 20-year quest for justice ended Tuesday when police told a Raleigh man that they captured the suspect who allegedly kidnapped and brutally murdered his mother.

Harriet Simmons was last seen alive on Capital Boulevard more than two decades ago. Just in the past few days, her children found out that police have arrested Terry Hyatt, 41, the man they believed raped and killed her.

"I was a pretty wild teenager, and my mother and I had just started to get close," said Mike Jones, who was just 16 years old when his mother was taken from him.

In 1979, Simmons left her workplace on Capital Blvd in Raleigh on her way to visit friends in Nashville, Tenn. However, she never arrived there, and never came home to her children.

"We thought something was wrong because she was the type of person that would have called," Jones said.

About a week later, Simmons' car turned up at a rest stop along I-40 in Iredell County.

"I thought she was dead, because I knew that she would have come back or called," Jones said.

Almost a year later, her body was found in thePisgah National Forestoutside of Asheville. Then 19 years later, an informant told authorities that Hyatt was Simmons' killer.

In November, Hyatt was charged with her rape and murder. It took more than seven months to contact her seven children; Jones got the call Tuesday.

"It was surprising that they found somebody," he said. "I thought this might go unsolved."

Hyatt is also charged with the rape and murder of another woman in theAshevillearea. He is now in theBuncombe Countyjail awaiting trial on both of the women's murders.


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