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FBI behavioral analysis applied to Edgecombe County cases

Posted July 29, 2009

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— Agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Behavioral Analysis Unit are working with local authorities to investigate a string of similar deaths in Edgecombe County, a spokeswoman said Wednesday.

They join a team of investigators, which includes the sheriff's office, Rocky Mount Police Department and the State Bureau of Investigation, in probing the deaths of five women whose bodies were found in or around the same area over the past four years.

Edgecombe slain women FBI profilers join Edgecombe County investigation

Each of the known victims was black, from Rocky Mount, had a history of drugs and had a history of run-ins with the law. Each was reported missing before their bodies were discovered in a rural area of Edgecombe County. A sixth body discovered in February has yet to be identified.

Three other missing women with similar descriptions and backgrounds – Christine Marie Boone, Renee Joyce Durham and Yolanda Renee Lancaster – remain missing.

Amy Thoreson, spokeswoman with the Charlotte FBI office, said the bureau often gets called in on serial killer cases. Their analytical work focuses on who criminals are and how they think.

"I just thank God that there are more coming in to help solve these cases," Diana Nicholson said.

Her daughter, Taraha, was reported missing in February. Her remains were found March 7.  An autopsy report, released Wednesday, shows Nicholson likely died of strangulation. Her body also had evidence of "numerous linear abrasions consistent with dragging marks," the autopsy said.

Diana Nicholson said an agent came to her home Monday to ask detailed questions about her daughter's habits and social life.

The addition of FBI profilers to the investigation gives Jackie Wiggins hope that her daughter, Jackie Thorpe, will get justice.

"It's a big boost," she said. "The biggest boost I've had in two years, so it really feels good."

Wiggins talked to an FBI agent over the phone. He asked questions and offered some reassurance, she said.

"They do have some leads, outstanding leads was the way he gave it to me," she said.

Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight remains the point person in the investigation. He said Sunday that investigators are working hard to solve the cases and that they need the public's help.

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

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  • findoutthefacts Jul 30, 2009

    No one is saying that these women deserved to be murdered. People are just saying that they shouldn't have been doing what they did (drugs and prostitution) and the killer shouldn't have been doing what they did (killing). Everyone in this situation was wrong!

  • The Fox Jul 29, 2009

    Women with this background are by far the number one target of serial killers. Last time I checked we are all equal under the law so play nice people.

  • YNCSW51 Jul 29, 2009

    Our society is headed in the wrong direction. I can not believe some of the comments posted here. I know everyone is entitled to their opinion and I respect you for your opinion. Regardless of what type of lifestyle these woman may or may not have live they are human beings and did not deserve their fate. Drug addiction like alcohol addiction is a illness and it takes years of counseling to rid yourself of this. I pray that whoever is responsible for this is arrested soon and punish.

  • apoea Jul 29, 2009

    ok well when are you all going to post photos of the ladies who are missing (unless i overlooked them??) ? We cannot help locate them if we don't know what they look like....

  • Chaniya Jul 29, 2009

    I am APPALLED and absolutely enraged by these comments some of you have posted. And I am equally disturbed that WRAL would post such trash. These women are human beings who have been murdered, obviously there is a murder on the loose somewhere in NC. I sincerely hope he/she doesn't come like a thief in the night to your neighborhood!

    That's all...

  • texasncgirl Jul 29, 2009

    Samattern-though I would tend to agree with your statement, however, these women ARE human beings who used to be someone's daughter, mother, neice, granddaughter, or aunt. The families at least deserve some sort of closure. If you had a child who was murdered in the same manner that these women were..how would you feel if someone said "oh..let's waste thousands of dollars on some stupid kid who was minding their own business". Put the shoe on the other foot will ya'? before you start making insensitive comments like that.

  • Raggedy Jul 29, 2009

    I just pray for peace of all of the families involved.

  • jaw8823 Jul 29, 2009

    Don't know the ends and outs but there are a couple cases in Wilson that had a couple cases like this. Maybe they all may have some connection.

  • SME2 Jul 29, 2009

    If the cops in that area had just watched the show Criminal Minds...they would already have their profile of the person who has killed these women.