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National Guard aids in search for missing Rocky Mount women

Posted April 6, 2010
Updated April 7, 2010

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— Gov. Bev Perdue called on the North Carolina National Guard Tuesday to help a special task force search for two missing women who are part of a larger investigation in Rocky Mount.

About 100 soldiers with the National Guard searched around Seven Bridges road near Whitakers, where the remains of five women have been found since August 2007.

Rocky Mount cases attract Perdue's attention Rocky Mount cases attract Perdue's attention

The action comes at the request of Edgecombe Sheriff James Knight, who said Tuesday that investigators believe the remains of Yolanda Renee Lancaster and Joyce Renee Durham could be found in the same area.

The special task force of local, state and federal authorities will be searching throughout the week.

“Having more boots on the ground will help law enforcement agencies cover a larger area and speed up search efforts,” Perdue said in a statement.

In all, the remains of eight women have been found over the past four years – seven in rural Edgecombe County and one in Halifax County.

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.

The most recent discovery came March 27, when investigators recovered the skeletal remains of Roberta Williams, 40, approximately 20 yards inside a wooded area off Seven Bridges Road. Williams was never reported missing but was last seen in spring of 2008.

Lancaster, 37, was last seen Feb. 5, 2009; Durham, 47, was last seen in June 2007.

Authorities have arrested Antwan Maurice Pittman in one of the cases, and a search warrant returned last month in Halifax County indicates that investigators are looking at him in at least five of the cases.

Crews have previously searched in a 1-mile radius of where each body was found, but Tuesday's search was the first massive search of the entire 13-mile stretch of road, Knight said.

"The searches we were doing were for evidence and also for any one of the other victims that may be out there," Knight said.

Still, the timing of the search brings questions for Lancaster's mother, Juray Tucker, and Rocky Mount city leaders.

"It concerns me that it took this long," Tucker said. "It's just a blessing to get some help."

Rocky Mount City Councilman Andre Knight said he and the other women's families pushed for the search.

"It should have been done much sooner than this, but we are happy to see our voices are being heard."



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  • Adelinthe Apr 7, 2010

    Mamasheart - "why can't we all just get along???"

    Cause Adam sinned in the Garden of Eden.

    And when he did, he invited evil into the world.

    That's why.

    Darn Adam!!!


    God bless.


  • MamasHeart Apr 7, 2010

    I just wish that someone could answer the infamous question "why can't we all just get along???"

  • Adelinthe Apr 7, 2010

    I believe she's doing that to keep the FBI off our backs.

    When that county and almost all of the politicians of this state let woman after woman disappear (many to be found dead in the same general location) and did nothing, even when the families raised hell, that got the FBI involved and got the state criticized on national news.

    Now Bev's trying some spin to show how much she cares.

    God bless.


  • findoutthefacts Apr 7, 2010

    "I guess passing out flyers and raising awareness to thousands of people, notifying them that women are missing can't be nearly as effective as a few dozen friends and family members keeping quiet and just walking around, looking by themselves. maybe that's just being lazy, huh? Khaos21"

    No....but just picking one or the other of these to do is lazy. What's wrong with doing them both? Why is it always a either or with you?

    And if putting up a billboard is just as good as a news story, then what are you whining about. Bottom line is that you have a chip on your shoulder and NOTHING will ever make you happy because you are a whiner!

  • theendoftheroad Apr 7, 2010

    My son happens to be one of the ones out there searching.. a grueling business... and for all of you talking about martial law and the Guard not doing their job... umm, before hte last war when someone had the bright idea to save money using citizen soldiers this WAS their job! The federal government made them soldiers... originally they were called up to serve the people of NC....

  • uncgrad80 Apr 7, 2010

    For the sake of the mothers, I hope the bodies are found to give them closure. Those women went down the wrong path but they were loved. But please stop giving Andre Knight so much press. He is such a hypocrite.

  • paulmichaelowens Apr 6, 2010

    Another point about Race.. lets take it off all government forms as identifiers. Who will agree to that?

  • paulmichaelowens Apr 6, 2010

    If you open your eyes this is just a precursor to martial law. We the public are being manipulated to thinking it is okay to see fatigues and assault rifles on the street doing law enforcement duties. Helicopters landing in fields and "Robin Sage" activities. There are rules and regulations about when and where "troops" should be called up, and this is not a coast guard "Search and Rescue" mission. If the local law enforcement, nor SBI can handle these cases they should escalate it to the FBI for further investigation and manpower. If they need more assistance they should be requesting it from other agencies. The military should not be called in for these types of events. No matter how GOOD the cause may be, this is a dangerous precedence to set. Should be we okay with being stopped by fatigues and assault rifles because the governor called them up and said it be so? I do not think so. Is the actual issue serious? Yes, definitely so.. Military involvement... definitely NOT.

  • lizard Apr 6, 2010


    Maybe missing black prostitutes, or druggees is not "news" for any color. Actually it's pretty common women (and men) that have this type lifestyle "disappear."

  • thesecret408 Apr 6, 2010

    I think that there should have been a more thorough search of the area to begin with. Up until now, you have regular citizens coming across the bodies. That certainly would mess up any clues that might have still been there. I am glad that they are finally doing something the right way. Just surely thought the dimwits would have thought of this a long time ago.