Local News

Rocky Mount police chief suspects serial killer in deaths

Posted March 31, 2010
Updated April 1, 2010

— Skeletal remains found Saturday in an Edgecombe County area have been identified as a Rocky Mount woman last heard from two years ago, Sheriff James L. Knight said Wednesday.

The remains of Roberta Williams, 40, were discovered off Seven Bridges Road, between Battleboro and Whitakers.

Williams, who was found guilty of prostitution in 2006, fits a similar profile of several other women from Rocky Mount whose bodies were discovered within the past four years.

skeletal remains Remains identified as Rocky Mount woman

Each was black, had a history of drugs or prostitution and had disappeared. Family members and friends have said that some of the women knew each other.

"It's clear to me that we are dealing with a suspected serial killer," Rocky Mount police Chief John Manley said.

Manley said Antwan Maurice Pittman – charged in September in the death of 29-year-old Taraha Nicholson – is a "very strong person of interest" in Williams' death.

The remains of Nicholson, Jarniece Hargrove Taraha Nicholson, 29, Jackie Thorpe, 35, Ernestine Battle, 50, and Melody Wiggins, 29 were found within a 10-mile radius of one another in Edgecombe County.

The remains of Christine Marie Boone, 43, were found March 5 in a wooded area behind a trailer where Pittman lived in Halifax County in 2006.

A search warrant returned earlier this month indicates that investigators are also looking at Pittman in the deaths of at least four of those women.

Records show Pittman once lived near a wooded area off Seven Bridges Road.

A special task force of local, state and federal authorities has been investigating the deaths as well as the disappearances of two other Rocky Mount women.

Williams was last seen by a family member in Rocky Mount in spring 2008, authorities said. Williams was not officially reported missing, but concerns surfaced from persons who had not seen her in some time, authorities said.

The cause of Williams' death is not known at this time.

Anyone with information about the dead or missing women is asked to call the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office at 252-641-7911 or Rocky Mount Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111.


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  • hank5049 Apr 1, 2010

    there is a hugh difference between nash and edgecombe counties. edgecombe is one of the poorest and highest taxed counties in north carolina.

  • coffeecup Apr 1, 2010

    Oh, excuse me for my huge gaffe, hank5049. Like there's a penny's worth of difference.

  • anonemoose Apr 1, 2010

    ""It's clear to me that we are dealing with a suspected serial killer," Rocky Mount police Chief John Manley said."

    No Chit Cherlock..

    What was your first clue, and did Watson have to hit you with to get you to see the light?

  • hank5049 Apr 1, 2010

    Dem Nash County boys is purty quick on the uptick!
    April 1, 2010 10:19 a.m.

    chief manley is not a nash county boy. he is a edgecombe county boy and resides in edgecombe county.

  • trainloadr Apr 1, 2010

    Personally, I don't know about you guys, but I think the Rocky Mount Police Chief is a freak*** genius. I am very sorry for the families and victims but now I think I will pray for the people of Rocky Mount. What a well timed and thought through comment there CHIEF.

  • coffeecup Apr 1, 2010

    Rocky Mount police chief suspects serial killer in deaths

    Ya thank?

    Dem Nash County boys is purty quick on the uptick!

  • airbornemonty Apr 1, 2010

    Does that means that just about everyone in North Carolina knows that it is a serial killer except the Rocky Mount police?

    Why not come out and say there is a serial killer roaming the town rather than suspect it might be a serial killer!

    Time to show some cojones in this case....

  • notagain1903 Apr 1, 2010

    How sad that she had no one in her life to report her missing. Everyone should have at least one person that would care enough to report them if they were gone. So sad :(
    What a shame for these families.

    Praying for everyone who loved these women.

    God bless.

    Their own families didn't even care about them. Until it got them on the news. Why should this society care if there own flesh and blood doesn't?????

  • notagain1903 Apr 1, 2010

    Also known as a sanitation engineer.... Just taking out the trash of the city free of charge.

  • WHEEL Apr 1, 2010

    Just how many missing people and subsequent bodies did it take the Chief to work out this brilliant deduction?