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Victim's mother talks about renewed probe into daughter's death

Posted July 1, 2009
Updated July 2, 2009

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— As Edgecombe County authorities continue their investigation into the unsolved murders of five women over the past four years, the mother of one of the victims is coming forward.

The body of Melody Wiggins, 29, was found near Nobles Mill Pond Road, an area south of U.S. Highway 64.

Shelly Guillen, Wiggins' mother, said she had a feeling her daughter was dead after hearing about a body being found on TV.

“Something was drawing me back to the TV to look at what they were saying, and for some reason in my heart I just felt it was her,” Guillen said.

Wiggins died of blunt force trauma to the head, according to an autopsy report. She also suffered stab wounds and was partially clothed when her decomposed body was discovered on May 30, 2005.

Guillen says finding closure isn't just for her peace of mind, she is also thinking of her grandson, Joshua. Wiggins' son died last year when a tornado hit Wilson County.

“He would always question me, ‘Grandma, have they found who killed my momma yet?’ I would say, ‘No, they're working on it,’” Guillen said.

Sheriff James Knight said a task force is looking into whether the five cases are linked.

“There are some similarities,” Knight said. “We’re doing everything we can to protect the public and to find out who the perpetrators may be.”

Each of the bodies found was of a black woman who lived in Rocky Mount, and each was murdered, Knight said.

The latest find, skeletal remains that appear to be those of a black woman were found Monday evening in a wooded area off Seven Bridges Road.

Knight said his deputies are close to identifying the most recent victim.

Other cases being investigated

On Aug. 17, 2007, a man told Edgecombe deputies he found a body behind a house on Seven Bridges Road, between Battleboro and Whitakers.

Pathologists at Pitt Memorial Hospital identified the victim as Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, 35. Thorpe was reported missing from Rocky Mount on May 8, 2007, police said.

On March 14, 2008, the body of 50-year-old Earnestine Battle, of 619 Branch St. in Rocky Mount, was found in the same area, along Seven Bridges Road, between Battleboro and Whitakers. She had been reported missing more than a month earlier.

On March 7, 2009, people riding all-terrain vehicles on Marriott Road found a body that was later identified as Taraha Shenice Nicholson, 28, of 218 N. Raleigh St. in Rocky Mount.

The individual causes of death have not been released.


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  • jetset Jul 2, 2009

    For what it is worth, I am white as snow, but I thing awareness of these murders has not been priority. Honestly, I haven't heard much at all about them. I hope higher (SBI/FBI or whoever it takes) authorities take these cases. It may well indeed be a serial killer. I am very sorry for all families involved in this situation. I know their hearts are heavy.

  • Professor Jul 2, 2009

    I sure hope they find who took these lives regardless how long it takes. Be assure, someone knows exactly who did it. May it rest on their shoulders until they decide to tell.

  • GoLO_2010 Jul 2, 2009

    Handsome, well I followed the Mahato case closely. As I said earlier, it was a total mess, to say the least.

  • Almondiyz Jul 2, 2009

    missing person(s)found murdered aren't cold cases as one tends to believe as soon as they drop off headlines. investigations into the crime(s)are still open even more so behind the news headlines especially when linked to a common MO.

  • Weaker Pelosi Jul 2, 2009

    Marge, maybe there were no photos from mahoto's murder, not sure if there was or not. I didn't follow the cases that closely. If these ladies chose the lifestyle they seemed to have then that was their mistake. As someone said earlier, the sheriff is black, so explain the racial bias. If the killer is black, which he prob. is because they usually stay in their own race, he is racist against blacks too. Enough of your foolishness and lets concentrate on finding the killer.

  • GoLO_2010 Jul 2, 2009

    Handsome, you never answered the question.

    Lockinlady, I guess your assumption in your post was correct, congratulations. LOL

  • Weaker Pelosi Jul 2, 2009

    Lockinlady: you and yours alike are your own worst enemies.

  • FoxtrotUniformCharlieKiloakaCALM Jul 2, 2009

    lol you got to love America everything is about race when a black person is involved hehe it's entertaining.

  • lockinlady Jul 2, 2009

    "Handsome, you ever stop and wonder why the ATM pics of them using Mahato's card was never released?"
    --Marge Has Gone Private

    Of course he hasn't. That would imply racism and we all know that it wasn't about race.

    Marge you're absolutely right. This 'ethnic' man was dead for months before they even gave a hoot about flagging his bank card. Eve Carson gets murdered and all of a sudden they have pics and all kinds of other evidence.

  • GoLO_2010 Jul 2, 2009

    Handsome, you ever stop and wonder why the ATM pics of them using Mahato's card was never released?