Local News

Robbery could be motive in 83-year-old's death

Posted June 23, 2009

— Wake County sheriff's investigators are following a number of leads in the apparent slaying of an 83-year-old woman found inside her home.

Sheriff Donnie Harrison also said Tuesday afternoon that, based on the investigation so far, it appeared that robbery was the likely motive in Paula McCance's death. He would not say how she died.

Robbery could be motive in 83-year-old's death Investigators seek suspect in woman's death

McCance's sister called 911 after she found her in her bed at her 6937 Rock Service Station Road home around 5:30 p.m. Monday, he said.

“I just arrived at my sister's house and I think she's dead,” the sister told a 911 dispatcher.

The sister later said that, "The room where she (McCance) keeps her jewelry has the drawers pulled out."

Sheriff's investigators and agents with the City-County Bureau of Identification were at the scene Monday evening and Tuesday collecting evidence and canvassing the neighborhood for information.

Harrison said McCance's daughter was the last to see her alive around 9 p.m. Sunday evening.

McCance was not in good health and was hearing impaired, he said, and she used a walker to move around. Neighbors and friends said she had a stroke in March and had been living alone. Her sister was supposed move in with her this week, they said.

"This is just a tragedy," Harrison said. "I can't imagine someone even doing this, but we're working 24 hours around the clock. We'll find out who did this."

Harrison urged anyone with information that could help with the investigation to call the sheriff's office.

"The main thing we're interested in is if somebody saw something (Monday) or the night before – anything that looked unusual – a car, people walking, whatever it may be," Harrison said. "We're looking for any lead we can get right now."

Meanwhile, the crime has left neighbors – many elderly – stunned and concerned for their own safety. Harrison said deputies have stepped up patrols in the area until the case is solved.

"It was shocking that it was getting so close to home," neighbor Tim Tharp said. "I'm hoping to get this resolved soon and get some answers."


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  • MellowMelnJC Jun 24, 2009

    Omg... my heart was breaking just listening to the 911 call...I can't imagine what her family was going through finding her and the house like this...For all you people saying that she was living alone and shouldn't have been...It sounds to me like she had people checking in and calling her on regulary. I also heard in the 911 call at the end that her dog was there crying...To bad he can't talk.
    My boyfriend lives within a mile of where this happened, its very scary to think that something this happening so close...He was shocked to hear about this from me and even more shocked to know that break-ins were happening in that area.

    I do have one question though and maybe someone has thought the same...Something just doesnt seem right about the family member moving it...

    Sad, sad world we are living in that people prey on older people(kids & animals).

  • grenlyn1 Jun 24, 2009

    I am watching this case very closely. Please keep us updated on its progress WRAL. My heart goes out to this family. I understand the fears of those in that community. There are children, elderly, and wonderful people who live in that area. I lived there 9 years. I am keeping them in my prayers. I know how worried they must feel. I hope they catch this person/s and quick!

  • adotd Jun 24, 2009

    I also live just down 42 from this. Our home was broken into a few months ago. Luckily my husband and I were not at home at the time! Jewelry, lap top and X-Box were taken. Drawers had been gone through.
    The family is in my prayers as well. I hope they catch the person(s) that did this.

  • PaulRevere Jun 24, 2009

    "Could be [the] motive"?!?!!? Really!?!?!? Ya think?

  • pebbles262004 Jun 24, 2009

    vote for a change - you need to know the facts. The ladies daughter only lives about a half of mile from her. And she was up there all the time so she was not just left there all the time by herself

  • kmb0694 Jun 24, 2009

    RDUTec, we live even closer. When WRAL first reported this, they said Rock Service Station near Old Stage so I was not too concerned as that was 4 miles away. But now we know otherwise. I was not aware of other break ins in the area.

  • Aussielady Jun 24, 2009

    Did anyone hear the 911 tapes of the call from the woman's sister? The sister kept saying she's dead, and the 911 operator repeatedly asked "is she breathing", "is she alive". You could hear the shock and stress in the sister's voice and the 911 operator kept wanting to ask was she alive. I know 911 operators are overworked and under a lot of stress, but they really need to listen to what a caller is telling them.

  • RDUTEC Jun 24, 2009

    I live about a mile away, and am really concerned.
    There are several houses in the area that would seem to be more attractive targets for a burgler or thief. Most of the homes are well protected by alarm systems and being the country, most residents are armed.
    Bet she knew the person(s) who did this.

  • Weaker Pelosi Jun 24, 2009

    Give them uncooked rice.

  • WhatWereOnceVicesAreNowHabits Jun 24, 2009

    Rice and Water?

    A little extreme dont ya think?