Benson, N.C. — Johnston County deputies arrested the son of a Benson woman Wednesday evening and charged him with her slaying, Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.
Deputies found Annie Bynum, 68, dead in her house in the 5800 block of Meadowbrook Road Wednesday morning after she had failed to show up for her Tuesday overnight shift at the Day by Day Treatment Canter in Selma.
Authorities have not said how she died. Her body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy.
Bynum's niece, Carolyn Harding, said authorities said her aunt was struck with a blunt object and was found in a bedroom doorway inside her home.
Deputies charged her son, Tony Edward Bynum, with first-degree murder in her death. He was ordered Thursday to be held without bond in the Johnston County Jail.
Annie Bynum was scheduled to work 11 p.m. to 7 a.m., and it was unlike her to not show up, family members said.
The center called relatives, and, on Wednesday morning, her sister called the sheriff's office.
Investigators went to Annie Bynum's house and found the side door open. They then determined that someone had forced his or her way into the house. Deputies went inside and found her body.
Tony Bynum, 42, told deputies he was out all night and was not at the house, family members said. Relatives said he had problems with alcohol and drugs.
His former fiancee, Teresa Carter, said he moved into his mother's house in June, after she and he ended their engagement. Tony Bynum also has four children, ages 12, 10, 9 and 8, with his former wife.
Carter said Tony Bynum lost his job last weekend.
Both she and Shannah Ramos, Tony Bynum's ex-wife, said they couldn't believe he would harm his mother.
Harding described her aunt as a "church- and family-oriented" woman. She said she can't understand why anyone would want to hurt her aunt.
"We don't know what has happened and we are trying to not let our minds play with us,” she said.
"All we can say is, 'The Lord is in control.' I do not understand it. I would be at a loss to try to explain it," said James Coleman, church elder at Smithfield First Seventh Day Adventist Church.
Coleman said Annie Bynum was soon to become the first female elder at their church.