Roanoke Rapids, N.C. — The manager of a Roanoke Rapids Applebee's was found dead Monday morning inside the restaurant, police said.
Police Chief Jeff Hinton identified the victim as Sandy Denise Riedel, 29, of 438 Jackson St. Hinton said Riedel was in early to open the restaurant.
Another employee found Riedel and called police around 7:40 a.m., Hinton said.
"We are still investigating, even now," Hinton said. "We're working now to investigate exactly what the motive was."
Hinton said there did not appear to be any forced entry into the restaurant.
Coworkers said Riedel was a popular, hardworking employee, and that she was last seen alive around 6:30 a.m. by her boyfriend, also a restaurant manager, when he brought her a cup of coffee.
The State Bureau of Investigation is assisting police on the case, and investigators were talking with people at surrounding businesses Monday.
Hinton said the case marks the fourth homicide in Roanoke Rapids this year.
Elizabeth McGee, chief people officer, of Apple Gold Group in Raleigh, which owns the restaurant, arrived Monday afternoon to help employees deal with their grief. Grief counselors were also expected later Monday.
About 45 employees work at the restaurant, 10 on each shift, McGee said.
"It just happened early this morning, and what we're focused on is taking care of our employees, as a whole, and certainly, our heartfelt sympathy goes to the family," McGee said.
"They absolutely loved this general manager, and she was very close with her staff, and they certainly need time to process this horrible tragedy," she added.