Local News

Moore County Children Suspected of Killing, Burying Father 2 Years Ago

Posted May 3, 2000

— A tale of murder and conspiracy is playing out in Moore County where two children are accused of killing their father and hiding his body. Their mother is dead too, and now police have new questions about how she died.

Two years after the murder of their father, a brother and sister are back in Moore County to face charges in the death of Paul Purvis, 57.

The boy, 15, is charged with murder; his 13-year-old sister is charged with accessory after the fact. Detectives say the boy shot his father after an argument and that the girl helped bury the body in a shallow grave behind the family's camper.

The children had been living with their grandmother in New Jersey since their mother's suicide in 1998. Now investigators are taking a closer look at how 54-year-old Elizabeth McCracken died.

"We're doing some more interviews with different people who were involved with the family at that time," says Capt. Greg Maness of the Moore County Sheriff's Department. "We've done four interviews in Baltimore, Md. on Monday. We did three more interviews in New Jersey on Tuesday."

While investigating McCracken's death, the children, who are described as extremely intelligent, told officials their father had left months earlier. Investigators became suspicious when they found Purvis' car and wallet at the home.

The family lived on 22 acres in a remote area of Vass. After months of investigating, Purvis' body was found April 14.

After Thursday's hearing at the Moore County Courthouse, the 13-year-old girl was placed in foster care under electronic house arrest. Her 15-year-old brother, who is charged with murder, will remain in a juvenile facility.

Deputies say they believe McCracken was out of state when Purvis' murder occurred. From what they have been told, deputies say McCracken knew about her husband's murder and told her children to take their secret to their graves. William Purvis, 15, is charged in his father's slaying. His sister is charged with being an accessory. The Fayetteville Observer says she was identified by family friends as Kethryn Purvis, 13. -->

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