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Female homicide victims grab headlines

Posted July 21, 2008

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— The recent slayings of a Cary mother and two female soldiers stationed at Fort Bragg have raised awareness about violence against women and how women can protect themselves.

The number of female homicide victims pales in relation to male victims. For example, three of 19 slayings in Wake County and four of 14 in Durham County this year involved women.

But a number of high-profile cases in recent months have grabbed people's attention:

  • Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach was beaten to death in December, and her burned remains were found in a shallow grave in a fellow Marine's backyard near Camp Lejeune.
  • The body of Latrese Curtis, a student at North Carolina Central University, was found along Interstate 540 in January. She had been stabbed repeatedly.
  • Eve Carson, the student body president at the University of North Carolina, was fatally shot in March on a Chapel Hill street.
  • Army Spc. Megan Touma's body was found in a Fayetteville motel room last month. The cause of death hasn't been determined.
  • The charred remains of Army 2nd Lt. Holley Wimunc were found in a shallow grave in Onslow County last week. The cause of death hasn't been released.
  • The body of Nancy Cooper was found in an undeveloped Cary subdivision last week, two days after she was reported missing. The cause of death hasn't been determined.

"I think women have a legitimate concern about the amount of violence we're seeing against women in the media," said Adam Hartzell, executive director of Interact of Wake County, which helps women escape abusive relationships. "As a society, we need to say enough is enough."

Michael Teague, a former profiler for the Raleigh Police Department, said homicide usually isn't a random crime, but he said the area will see more crimes as the population grows.

"I think North Carolina is a very safe place to be," Teague said.

For Anny Jacoby, violence against women is personal. A survivor of domestic violence, she runs Realistic Female Defense and says self-defense is both mental and physical.

"Be proactive. If your gut tells you you're in an unhealthy situation, follow those gut instincts," Jacoby said.

Jacoby also knows a female homicide victim. Her son graduated from Chapel Hill High School with Irina Yarmolenko, a University of North Carolina-Charlotte student who was suffocated and left on the bank of the Catawba River in May.

"It could've been an ambush. She could've known the person. You don't know, that's the scary thing," said Jacoby, who plans to hold a special training class next month in Carrboro to raise money for Yarmolenko's memorial fund.

16 Comments

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  • ncguy Jul 22, 2008

    Very sad that the media thinks we need to hear about every women that was killed or missing.
    If it was men they would have to use the entire news cast to say all the men.

    It's the media. I bet that we are on average for the state in men and women deaths.

  • ninamc65 Jul 22, 2008

    You go,"Tired of Excuses". I'm a woman and have my Cheetah 380 waiting for anyone who wants to mess with me.

  • familyfour Jul 22, 2008

    It is very sad about each of these women, but fact of the matter is, killing is happening more and more all the time period. Men, women, and children...

    It is as important for us to look out for ourselves as it is to look out for others...and even more importantly, to act upon it.

  • LambeauSouth Jul 22, 2008

    Look.... Reality check people!
    Woman jogging by themselves? Nancy
    Leaves door to house unlocked? Eve
    to assume that you are safe in this day and age
    is downright ignorant. I'm not by any means saying that this is by anyways their fault but please take precautions.
    There are very sick People roaming this Earth and to assume otherwise is just plain Stupid

  • LambeauSouth Jul 22, 2008

    You know what, they did not mention the latest. The lady from Johnston County found in North Raleigh. Why is that WRAL?

  • dayum_yankee_99 Jul 22, 2008

    all these stories are so sad... the poor women.

  • beachbum1 Jul 22, 2008

    BarnRat has some good points! It is not safe here, the bigger the city the more crime.

  • dogman1973 Jul 22, 2008

    DARIUS "Big deal, the world is over-populated as it is. I don't see what the gripe is."
    I really hope you are being cynical here! If not, can I suggest a nice mental health advisor for you since you seem to lack any empathy!

    Violence and murder against women is not a new thing....it has been going on since the dawn ages and will continue to go on! Women need to always be aware of their surroundings and never trust anyone---friend or foe. Plus, letting your significant other know that you can shot a fire arm is also a deterrent---just won't mess with a woman who can shot!

  • Tired Of Excuses Jul 22, 2008

    Darius, was that comment to get attention? The vast majority of us on this site are educated professional adults and hard working individuals, you have proven your stupidity. Thank you.

  • Tired Of Excuses Jul 22, 2008

    Protection? Nothing a 12 guage won't take care of.

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