Local News

Rocky Mount body identified

Posted October 12, 2009

— The body of a woman found in Rocky Mount on Feb. 13 has been identified as 33-year-old Elizabeth Jane Smallwood, police said Monday.

Smallwood, whose last known address was 249 Hill St., had not been reported missing to authorities.

A medical examiner’s report indicated that Smallwood’s remains, which were found along Melton Drive at the Nash-Edgecombe county line, could have been there for six months to a year.

An official cause of death was not known, police said.

Edgecombe slain women Rocky Mount body identified

In Nash and Edgecombe counties, Smallwood was arrested on charges of prostitution, assault,  drug possession, larceny and resisting arrest.

A special task force is investigating Smallwood's death along with five murdered women all found in the same rural area of Edgecombe County.

Since 2005, authorities have recovered the remains of Jarniece Latonya Hargrove, 31, Taraha Shenice Nicholson, 28, Melody LaShae Wiggins, 29, Ernestine Battle, 50, and Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, 35.

Wiggins was also reported missing from a home on Hill Street.

Three other women with similar descriptions and backgrounds are missing from Rocky Mount. They are: Christine Marie Boone, Renee Joyce Durham and Yolanda Renee Lancaster.

Antwan Maurice Pittman, 31, whose last known address was 219 Anderson St. in Rocky Mount, was charged last month with one-count of first degree murder in the Nicholson’s death.

The Kefalas Pinto Foundation has offered a $10,000 reward in the case. Rocky Mount City Council and Edgecombe County commissioners agreed to match that amount, putting up $5,000 each to bring the reward total to $20,000, for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction or leads to the discovery of the missing women.

Anyone with information on this case should contact Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111 or the Rocky Mount Police Department at 252-972-1411.

Patricia Martin, who leads the grassroots organization MOMS (Murdered or Missing Sisters), said the identification of Smallwood's remains just reinforces her commitment to find those responsible.

Quatoshia Hill, another MOMS member, wants to know what happened to her cousin, Dexter Johnson. She said Johnson lived near some of the murdered women.

Johnson was murdered in 2006, though she doesn't believe his murder is linked to the six women.

“We as a family need closure. We live in a neighborhood,” Hill said. “We could be coming in contact with the person who did this every day.”

“I refuse to let it die down,” Martin said.


This story is closed for comments.

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  • Sunne Oct 13, 2009

    Where does it say that all the families didn't care about the women? People who are on drugs sometimes go missing for weeks and reappear and some are not in contact with their families. This one may not have been reported, but others were reported. It is amazing how some can choose one statment in the story and generalize about the other families. Someone cared about these women and no one had the right to take their lives just because of their lifestyle.

  • Rockermom Oct 13, 2009

    GO GT, exactly what I was thinking.

  • AnotherIgnoredComment Oct 13, 2009

    RMPD leadership, as well as Edgecombe county SO needs to be revamped. Chief Manley is clueless and not able to do the job. He WAS appointed due to his race and it has been a downfall since. Fire him, get a leader from outside the agency to clean house.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Oct 13, 2009

    MellowMe, my bad. I read your comment and BucksandPackFan's comment and blurred the two.

  • MellowMelnJC Oct 13, 2009

    I DID NOT say anything about race?

  • notagain1903 Oct 13, 2009

    Bucks and Deathrow Have got it right. Why does that group only step up after the fact. why should we care when there own flesh and blood doesn't?!?! If you were there in the beginning to care and help for moral guidance this would not have happened!! Stop "Preaching from your soap box" and be active in your own house before you push it in to mine. Being a positive member of society takes work and common sense. There are no "hand outs" in life. When you don't want to contribute as a member of a society then the society will cast you out. We have enough people draining our resouces as it is.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Oct 13, 2009

    BucksandPackFan and MellowMelnJC, I really don't believe people have little interest because of their race. I really believe the lack of interest is mostly due to their profession and how they lived their lives.

  • MellowMelnJC Oct 13, 2009

    bucksandpackfan...I was thinking about the same thing.

    I know this is going to sound cold BUT before they get on TV talking about NOT enough was done to help find these people I THINK they need to think about IF they did all they could do to help before they became missing???

  • BucksandPackFan Oct 13, 2009

    We as a community in Rocky Mount are being criticized for not caring about these women's deaths because they are black - and perhaps there is a small truth in people not caring because of their lifestyles, but explain to me why I dhould care about someone's death when even her own family didn't care enough to report her missing

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Oct 13, 2009

    Go GT, you hit on my point. And I'm sure I will catch a lot of trouble for this comment. ALL of these women lived sinful, meaningless lives. Although this news release yesterday got top billing on WRAL.com, it didn't startle many people's interest. Some complain that these women's deaths/murders aren't getting the same attention that a couple of white-collar business women's murder would have received. True and expected. Here's where I get blasted. If you spill a glass of wine on a greasy concrete floor, no one really cares. But if you spill the same glass of wine on a nice carpeted floor, everyone is stunned. It DOES matter what you have done with your life. Cold-hearted statement? Probably. Is it a true statement? Most definitely.