Local News

Autopsy reveals more details about NCCU student's death

Posted May 23, 2008

— Medical examiners found a condom while conducting an autopsy on the body of an NCCU student who was stabbed nearly 40 times and found dead along I-540 in Raleigh earlier this year.

The autopsy, which was released Friday, also said Latrese Matral Curtis had injuries to her hands, including two broken nails. Investigators at the crime scene placed brown paper bags over her hands to preserve any evidence.

Her jeans also were unbuttoned and the fly was unzipped, the report said.

  • Read the full autopsy. (Warning: Graphic content)

Motorists found Curtis' body near Louisburg Road about an hour before her husband, Darin Curtis, reported her missing on Jan. 30.

Robert Lee Adams Reaves, 43, of 19 Birchcrest Court in Durham, was charged with first-degree murder in her death.

The autopsy report also describes in more detail where Curtis was stabbed, including her head, neck, chest and stomach.

Toxicology results showed there was no evidence of alcohol in her system. The medical examiner listed the cause of death as “multiple sharp force injuries.”

The autopsy, which is part of the public record, provides significant detail into a crime that attracted a high level of interest when it happened. Many questions still surround Curtis' death.

Curtis, 21, an administration and management major at NCCU, was last seen leaving a class on Jan. 29. According to her husband in a 911 call, she called him about 10 p.m. that night to tell him she was on her way home.

According to search warrants police obtained, Latrese Curtis had been visiting Reaves' roommate, Steven L. Randolph, at his home on Birchcrest Court. But Reaves was not home at the time.

At 1:36 a.m. on Jan. 30, a North Carolina state trooper found Reaves' 2004 Chrysler Pacifica parked on the side of I-540 near the location where motorists spotted Curtis' body at about 7:30 a.m. There was no one in the vehicle, but according to the warrant, the trooper spotted a woman's sweater inside.

Reaves went to his church ministry after the slaying to wash the blood off his clothes and body, prosecutors said.

"Mr. Reaves may have been back to this location after this homicide to clean up and possibly destroy evidence that he may have been wearing during this incident," investigators said in a Feb. 2 search warrant for Cedar International Fellowship in Durham.

They seized two large metal trash dumpsters from the business complex, according to the warrants.

Another warrant showed that Curtis' cellular phone was used to call Randolph in the hours before her body was found.

Nothing in the warrants suggests a motive for the killing, however.

Reaves was a pastor for more than 20 years and faced criminal sexual charges in South Carolina and New York.

In Durham, Reaves pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of obtaining property by false pretenses in September 2005, according to court records. He was ordered to pay $500 in restitution and given community service and 12 months' probation.


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  • mondosinistro May 26, 2008

    As OldRebel (and others?) said, there is inconsistency in releasing these reports. There is a link to the actual Curtis report--but none for Abhijit Mahato.

    As to autopsy "photos"--not really. Just diagrams. Are there ever actual photos? Don't know. Do I want to see any? Not so sure I do. But I do want to know more in some places. I'm interested in the Carson report, not because of any morbid curiosity (I don't believe it'll be any worse than I've already imagined), but because I'm still trying to figure out what happened on 3/5 (so close to me I could've almost heard it myself). My opinion has in fact changed a lot in the last week. It may change still more as we find out more.

  • uthink May 23, 2008

    right on "old school tarheel". you know what this is about.

  • uthink May 23, 2008

    I am still confused about what happened. All these details and still no clarity of what lead to this tragedy.

  • ghimmy51 May 23, 2008

    I didn't need to know that. I doubt the family appreciated it either.

  • Lady Justice May 23, 2008

    There was a direct link to the Michelle Young AR. I just finished reading it from that link. As for the Carson AR, I am sure it will be published, but only when the publishing does not pose a threat to the successful prosecution of that case. Every case is different. Be patient.

  • doubletrouble May 23, 2008

    One was murdered in Jan, the other Mar. It was stated that Eve Carson's would be released as well.

    As far a public knowledge...yes, I can see the need for a free press/freedom of speach, but I also have enough human compassion to realize that such graphic, personal and tragic descriptions of how a loved one suffered-could be very hard on the victim's family. I just try to look at it as if, it were one of my own family-and how I would feel about it, being broadcast to the world. These same details and facts however, should surely be shown to a juror during a trial.

  • casp3r May 23, 2008

    Packy: It is sad honestly, it is by the ones calling other racist for not agreeing with them…

  • NCMOMof3 May 23, 2008

    It's so sad that a beautiful young lady's death has been overshadowed by racism. Does anyone really think Latrese Curtis cares at this point if her murderer is white, black, or pink with purple polka dots? She was a wonderful young lady that was murdered for no other reason than someone decided they could take her life. Eve Carson was a wonderful young lady that was murdered for the same reason. And hey, they were both murdered by black men. Yes, racism exists, on both sides. Discrimination exists, on both sides. Life isn't fair. Get over it and move on. Don't overshadow 2 tragic deaths by yelling "not fair" or "racism" when neither of these 2 ladies care at this point. All they would want is justice and healing, on all fronts. Racism will never go away until people stop looking for imagined slights around every corner.

  • doodad May 23, 2008

    Anyone who uses this much force to murder another human being needs to be destroyed.

    I can not imagine someone in my family dying this way. My heart goes out to her family.

  • mondosinistro May 23, 2008

    Just one little point of fact: The Eve Carson murder was much more recent than Latrese Curtis. It looks as though they will be releasing that too, probably in siz weeks or so--*as was the original intention*. So until that time passes, why do we need to make these comparisons of one victim's family's privacy rights vs another?