Local News

Arrest made in slaying of Wayne Co. mother

Posted June 15, 2008

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— A suspect has been arrested in connection with the slaying of a mother found dead inside her home.

Brandon Lee Williams, 23, of 2123 N.C. Highway East in Fremont, was charged Friday with murder in the death of Silvia Benetiz Morales, 23, at her 1273 Black Creek Road home on March 3.

"The public sometimes thinks that when an arrest is not swift, the law enforcement investigation stops," Sheriff Carey Winders said. "I want to stress that as long as there is even one small lead that needs to be pursued, we will do our best to follow that lead.

Morales' 7-year-old daughter found her mother's body when she got home from school. Morales' 3-year-old son was also in the house but was unharmed, authorities said.

An autopsy determined that Morales had been shot in the head, and evidence suggested she struggled with her killer.

Earlier, investigators said they were unsure of a motive, and that nothing was missing from the home and there was no forced entry.

Morales' husband, Javier, was working at a nearby farm when his wife was killed.

Detective Sgt. Tammy Odom headed the investigation that led to Williams' arrest, and Detective Lt. Carl Lancaster assisted. Winders had been actively involved in all stages of the investigation, said Capt. Tom Effler, supervisor of the sheriff's office's investigations division.

Effler thanked the public for its assistance and donors that had contributed to a $11,000 reward fund in the case. No reward has yet been paid out, but the investigation was continuing, Effler said.

Those who knew Morales said she was a loving mother and wife, a hard worker and an active member of her church. She and her husband were saving up to buy the house they were renting, but Javier Morales said the family has moved, because it became too difficult to live there.

Williams has twice served probation for separate convictions for second-degree trespassing and willful or wanton injury to real property. The incidents that prompted the charges both occurred in Wayne County in 2005.


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  • camanderikfan Jun 16, 2008

    Thank God they found the person responsible for this. I didn't know this woman, but I do know her brother and his family. They go to my Church and are some of the nicest people you could ever meet. Their daughter has grew up with my daughter and they are the best of friends. She has left behind 2 beautiful children who are now getting a long the best they can without their mother. Her brother and his wife have done a lot to help them out. This is a tragedy that I wouldn't wish on anyone and at least now they have some closure.

  • Gitrdone Jun 16, 2008

    How sad! To think that someone could actually kill a mother in front of her child to be found by another child. How cold blooded! I pray that her family will find peace. As for him, he will have to answer to a greater judge than one that sits in a a courtroom.