Local News

Older women vulnerable to crime

Posted June 30, 2009
Updated July 1, 2009

— Search warrants, released Tuesday, show a cell phone led authorities to the man charged with the death of an 83-year-old woman. Paula McCance was found dead at 6937 Rock Service Station Road in Raleigh last week.

Highway Patrol officials arrested Michael Thomas Clark Jr., 37, during a traffic stop. According to search warrants, Clark lived behind McCance and stole her cell phone.  Cell phone records were used to track investigators to Clark.

Woman, living alone, often targeted by criminals Women, living alone, often targeted by criminals

McCance is one of three older women targeted in the past two weeks. While the cases aren't related, investigators say they serve as a reminder to put safety first.

"They are home by themselves and people know that. And what you have to remember is that the person who is normally going to break in, they know that the person can't hurt them as quickly as someone who is young and has a lot of energy,” Wake County Sheriff Donnie Harrison said.

Kitty, who did not want to give her last name, says she is especially cautious since she lives alone. Every night the 83-year-old's routine is the same, she says.

"The inside door gets locked, the drapes get closed and don't knock on my door after dark because I don't answer it,” Kitty said.

Kitty is one of more than 50 elderly people in Wake County who get a call each day from the sheriff's office. It is part of the Citizens' Well-check Program, designed to make sure the elderly are OK. 

However, Kitty says she doesn't think she is a target for thieves.

"I have nothing for them to take, of course they don't always take something,” Kitty said.

The sheriff says, regardless of age, you should always keep your doors and windows locked. He also urges people to cut back shrubs from doors and windows, so neighbors can see what is going on. If you are confronted, Harrison says to scream and make as much noise as you can.

Recent cases involving older women

The suspect in McCance's slaying, Clark, is charged with first-degree murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon, felony larceny of a motor vehicle, first-degree burglary, possession of heroin and conspiracy to sell and deliver heroin.

Judy Barefoot McLeod's body was found last week in her home at 109 Buckskin Lane in Erwin. Harnett County deputies charged Larry Donnell McDougald, 17, with 63-year-old's slaying. McDougald also lived near the victim, investigators said.

Raleigh police have ruled the death of Patsy Eason Barefoot, 60, of 3939-133 Wake Forest Road, as suspicious, but they have not released the cause of her death. Her body was found Saturday inside her home at Montecito Apartments.

Barefoot's silver 2002 Ford Focus, with North Carolina license plate RNY-5847, is missing, and police ask anyone with information about the car's whereabouts or the case to call the Raleigh Police Department’s Detective Division at 919-996-3555 or Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-HELP.


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  • jafarmg2 Jul 1, 2009

    in other news, the sky is blue and water is wet.....

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM Jul 1, 2009

    well the people that commit these crimes only care about the label, they WANT to be criminals and felons, it's considered cool in some parts. and heck if you can make it out without any bruises or cuts because you attacked an old lady, the cooler you are. And the one guy is 17 so he'll get probation, do it again and then when it's a pretty young person then people will be calling for his head. Gee, that sounds familiar to me...

  • scoutmomof2 Jul 1, 2009

    "They should all be made to have a dog in the house. The bad guys can't stand dogs. To much noise and they have been known to bite from time to time."

    More would probably have them except for the cost of them.

  • working for deadbeats Jul 1, 2009

    My last comment didn't make it. To violent I guess.

    I'd invite them in and give them free stuff while listening to their plites of what it's like to be a held down poor person.

  • jobchick2004 Jul 1, 2009

    Anyone is vunerable to crime. If you don't know that by now, you've been living in a cage.

  • scoutmomof2 Jul 1, 2009

    "Arm these little old ladies with nice light weight 22 pistols! Load them with short rounds & give these ladies training on the firing range. Then set loose. Would've been much better to have 911 called to scoop up the croaked sneak thief rather than send the morgue car for the little old lady. If these creeps KNEW these women were armed & itchy - maybe they wouldn't be as apt to prey on them (remember the 97 yo who was beaten, robbed & raped in Wilmington).

    Shotgun is better, you don't have to have good aim.

  • OSX Jul 1, 2009

    They should all be made to have a dog in the house. The bad guys can't stand dogs. To much noise and they have been known to bite from time to time.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy Jul 1, 2009

    I think for punishment they should be required to get into the Octagon, and go 3 rounds with a MMA contender (before they serve life in prison, or get the needle).......I'm guessing very few of them would last 5 seconds, and leave crying like a little girl!

  • Mr. Middle of the Road Jul 1, 2009

    Real pond scum would prey on the elderly.

  • xxxxxxxxxxxxx Jul 1, 2009

    "deputies charged Larry Donnell McDougald, 17, with 63-year-old's slaying."

    I REALLY hope he doesn't get some sort of slap on the wrist because he's only 17.