Local News

Investigators Probe Break-Ins as Clues in Bragtown Killing

Posted October 3, 2007
Updated October 4, 2007

— Durham County investigators are looking at a series of burglaries to see if they could be connected to the stabbing death of an 89-year-old Bragtown man who was found dead inside his house a week ago.

Police have investigated at least eight break-ins since last Tuesday in the same neighborhood where family members found Charles Forest Davis stabbed to death at 2913 Nellowood St.

Each break-in occurred during the day, with most of the entries through a back door or window, police said.

"That could play into our investigation," said Lt. Stan Harris with the Durham County Sheriff's Office. "We have been in touch with Durham police, who've given us good information we're following up on."

Although detectives won't say if robbery was the motive behind Davis' slaying, they said whoever went into the house "ransacked it."

Police said they think two teenagers might be behind some of the break-ins, and sheriff's investigators said they have not ruled out teenagers as possible suspects in Davis' death.

"The teenage male theme is recurrent," Harris said. "We're taking leads, following up and trying to put faces with names."

Sheriff's detectives have been searching for two people since Davis was found Sept. 26. According to a search warrant made public Wednesday, they searched the home Sept. 28 of a person of interest in the case.

A confidential informant told authorities they saw a man driving a white 1993 Buick Century that matched the description of Davis' missing car, on the night of Sept. 26, about an hour before Davis' body was discovered.

The next day, a sheriff's deputy on routine patrol spotted the car, briefly chased it and saw the person of interest flee from it, according to the warrant.

Investigators, in the warrant, said blood stains on and inside the Buick Century indicated a transfer of evidence from Davis' home to the car and to the occupants of the car. Investigators seized a pair of pants from the person of interest's home, the warrant showed, but it was unclear why.

Durham County District Attorney David Saacks, who met with investigators about the case Wednesday, said investigators are still looking at several persons of interest.

As for neighbors who live in the Bragtown area, they said Wednesday there is a sense of unease about the situation that won't be lifted until authorities arrest a suspect.

"I feel pretty bad about all this," Davis' neighbor, Emerson Wilson, said. "All the stuff that's happening lately – all of us need to be on the watch out now."

Davis' funeral is planned for noon Thursday at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, where he was a deacon and church member for more than 50 years.


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  • jhnewman Oct 5, 2007

    "Police have investigated at least eight break-ins since last Tuesday in the same neighborhood where family members found Charles Forest Davis stabbed to death at 2913 Nellowood St."

    "As for neighbors who live in the Bragtown area, they said Wednesday there is a sense of unease about the situation that won't be lifted until authorities arrest a suspect."

    This situation begs for a couple of internet surveillance cameras which could be monitored by either a neighborhood watch group or the Durham police department.

    Now, this may raise a lot of fuss about "privacy", but in my humble opinion; survival,safety and security (per Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs) take priority.

    Cost for such a system with two cameras would be less than $1000, and that would include dedicated computers to run the cameras.

    If this was my neighborhood, I'd install the stuff myself.

  • I_love_ the_ News Oct 4, 2007

    I wonder if the the Police/Sheriff Dept. let the killers escape,the law inforcers had the car and the suspects ,and they got away....
    Something is not making sense...
    I drove by the Church this morning that he attend....I couldn't help but wonder how his family and wife are doing.

  • mfalesana Oct 4, 2007

    If I had to guess I'm thinking that maybe they took jeans from the person of interests house b/c there may have been blood from this poor guy on it. And/or maybe they want DNA of the suspect to compare to DNA left at the crime scene. I just hope durham p.d. get the job done and catches whoever the idiot that could do something like this is.

  • JuanGrande v3.0 Oct 4, 2007

    Sorry Headlong. The slime that killed this gentleman have no guilt.

  • Con Amor Oct 4, 2007

    This is such a heart breaking story.What type of threat could this elderly gentleman possibly have been to the trashy no good punks that did this to him??I hope that they are caught real fast before they do this to someone eles.If they think they got away with it this time,they're going to get more brave,and do it over and over..I take much pleasure in knowing that what comes around,goes around.And one day soon these punks will meet their maker..I'll just pray for the family,and also for the police,to find the needed clue to catch these animals!

  • 68_polara Oct 4, 2007

    It's unfortunate it takes a murder for the police in Durham to actually investigate break-ins. They usually just fill out a police report, pretty much for the purpose for your ability to file an insurance claim. But, than again there are so many daytime home break-ins around here and when they do catch someone they end up watching the the Durham County Judges let them go with only a slap on the wrist. I think the cops in this town are the only ones more frustrated than the general population at these Judges. What infuriates me though is that these Judges continue to let violent felons out again and again until they kill someone. I think they will catch this murderer and when they do I promise you that he will have a rap sheet a mile long full of violent felonies, and I wouldn't be surprised if maybe even a previous convection for murder. When will things change?

  • orange dude Oct 4, 2007

    Projects are down the street, lots of folks milling about with, seemingly, nothing to do.

  • PikeMom Oct 4, 2007

    This is just breaks my heart for the family more than I can express.One can only imagine the horror this elderly man experienced at the hands of such brutal killers.We need more men like Mr.Davis,and less of whomever did this, that's for sure.

  • CestLaVie Oct 4, 2007

    Amen to all the previous comments before mine. It breaks my heart to think of this gentleman & how he died. Bless his heart. I hope the Lord took him fast so he wouldn't suffer very long from what these idiots were doing to him.

    You bet these idiots will be apprehended. They are too stupid to realize this though; some even become cocky about it, over time. The One who saw this horrendous crime will help bring them forward for everyone to see. You can count on it.

  • Ilaina Oct 3, 2007

    Sending my thoughts and prayers to this family. Sorry for your loss.