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FBI to join Edgecombe bodies probe

Posted July 26, 2009

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— The Federal Bureau of Investigation is joining the probe into the discovery of remains of five missing Rocky Mount women in the same rural area of Edgecombe County.

"It is methodically going through tips and information that we hope will lead us to the right person,” Rocky Mount Police Chief John Manley said Sunday of the investigation.

The remains of Jarniece Latonya Hargrove, 31, and Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, 35, were found in a field on Seven Bridges Road between Battleboro and Whitakers. Hargrove, who was reported missing in May, was discovered last month; Thorpe, reported missing in May 2007, was discovered three months later.

Ernestine Battle, 50; Melody LaShae Wiggins, 29; and Taraha Shenice Nicholson, 28; were also found in the same area.

A sixth body discovered in February has yet to be identified, and three other missing women with similar descriptions and backgrounds – Christine Marie Boone, Renee Joyce Durham and Yolanda Renee Lancaster – remain missing.

Bike ride raises awareness of Edgecombe slayings Bike ride raises awareness of Edgecombe slayings

To help raise money for a series of billboards about the unsolved slayings, 35 people took part in a bike ride Sunday. The bikers rode through the streets of Edgecombe County, and past the rural area where some of the women's bodies were discovered.

"It was somebody's daughter, somebody's sister, somebody's mother. So it could be you, and you would want someone to help you out," biker Terrance Dickens said.

Family members of the some of the victims recently organized the group MOMS – Missing or Murdered Sisters. It aims to draw attention to the unsolved cases.

"It's so hard, God knows it is. I stay in prayer. That's what keeps me going,” said Diana Nicholson, mother of victim – Taraha Shenice Nicholson.

Money raised Sunday by the bike ride will join funds for billboards gathered last weekend by MOMS. The group has raised $816 of the $1,300 needed for the billboards. To donate, people can make a check payable to MOMS at any Wachovia banking branch.

Meanwhile, the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office, Rocky Mount Police Department and State Bureau of Investigation are part of a task force looking into the slain women cases. The Edgecombe County District Attorney's Office is also lending support to investigators, and the FBI plans to join the probe this week, Manley said.

Anyone with information about the cases is asked to call the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office at 252-641-7911.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • wakemom Jul 27, 2009

    y question y is this a federal crime matter. nobody questions those missing persons when they are shown on nancy grace show do they? the question should be y now are these murders coming to life. evidently someone has started to question the police more about it.

  • carolinagirl75 Jul 27, 2009

    The fact that the FBI is joining the case doesn't mean a federal crime has occured. The FBI has a great deal of forensic technology, behavioral scientists, and other resources that the Edgecombe County sheriff's office just wouldn't have. It's not unusual for a jurisdiction to ask the FBI for help if it's a major criminal case and they need help. I just wonder--did the SBI ever help investigate the crimes? I don't remember.

  • panthers254 Jul 27, 2009

    you would think..... anytime a person kills a person, they are violating their civil rights.

  • ThinkChick Jul 27, 2009

    Glad to hear it!

  • mochabrown Jul 27, 2009

    It's possible those who are speaking now HAVE been speaking, but just NOT being heard. I surely hope the killer is not among those claiming to be looking for him/her. Some crooks like to blend in with the crowd.

    I do hope and pray that the killer will be found soon and the families can get closure and justice.

  • 4DukeTillDeath Jul 27, 2009

    I'm pretty sure Hargrove's body was found last month. So far thats the last one found.

  • starshield Jul 27, 2009

    I'd love to know where all these people were when the victims were living on the streets. They seemed to be loved now, but wouldn't a little effort to keep them off the streets before they died have been nice. I think alot of these people just want to be on T.V.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jul 27, 2009

    It says the last body was found in February. But it doesn't indicate when the Medical Examiner estimates her murder would have taken place. She could have been murdered the day before, or four months before. Just curious as to how recently the murderer struck.

  • haggis basher Jul 27, 2009

    "I wonder what the underlying Federal crime is."
    I think it would come under violating their civil rights like the case of Emmett Till. Bit of a stretch perhaps but if it catches the killer....

  • jigsaw Jul 27, 2009

    FBI? In the past the FBI have hindered serial murder cases more than they have helped.