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Search fails to turn up missing Rocky Mount women

Posted April 10, 2010
Updated April 12, 2010

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— North Carolina officials say a extensive search in Edgecombe County failed to find two missing women whose backgrounds match those of others found dead.

Dozens of National Guardsmen, police officers and firefighters searched last week around Seven Bridges road near Whitakers, where the remains of five women have been found since August 2007.

The special task force search, which the Rocky Mount Telegram reported Saturday failed to find anything, was at the request of Edgecombe Sheriff James Knight. He said last week that investigators believe the remains of Yolanda Renee Lancaster and Joyce Renee Durham could be found in the same area.

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 the special task force search was the first massive effort of the entire 13-mile stretch of road.

Information from: Rocky Mount Telegram

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