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Victim's sister: 'I was never treated as a suspect'

Posted April 13, 2010
Updated April 14, 2010

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— Kathy Taft's sister says she was not treated as a suspect in the March attack that led to the State Board of Education member's death.

2710 Cartier Drive Sister recalls finding Taft unresponsive

Taft, 62, died March 9 at WakeMed, three days after she was assaulted in the home of a friend and suffered a severe head injury. Search warrants released last Friday also state that she was sexually assaulted.

"I was never treated as a suspect. Not ever,” Dina Arnold Holton told WCTI-TV.

Holton said she was questioned by police after her sister's attack. The Oriental resident called 911 on the morning of March 6 to report that Taft was unresponsive and that she thought it was a complication from her surgery.

Taft, of Greenville, had undergone neck surgery in Raleigh on March 5 and was recovering at the home of friend John Geil, at 2710 Cartier Drive. Geil was in Florida at the time.

Holton told the dispatcher that she couldn't get her sister out of bed and that there was "blood everywhere."

"I heard footsteps, and I know somebody was in that house," Holton said Monday. "I didn't know that house. I'd never stayed in that house before. Then, I found her, and that's when I called 911."

Police were called after Taft had been taken to WakeMed, when her surgeon examined her and realized she had been assaulted. A medical exam at the hospital also turned up evidence of a sexual assault.

Police have said that the attack occurred "some hours before" investigators were called, but the time of the crime hasn't been narrowed down from late March 5 to early March 6.

Holton said she couldn't have saved her sister.

"It didn't matter if I'd found her at 3:30 in the morning or at the time I found her. It was done. It was done," she said.

Holton said she was interrogated by police, but that she was always treated respectfully. She said she has and will continue to work with investigators in anyway possible to find the person responsible for her sister's death.

"Even the interrogation I've been through. Whatever it could take to find out what happened to my sister," Holton said. "I miss her terribly. She was my soulmate."

During a search of Geil's home, police seized bed linens, clothing, dishes, computers and items like golf clubs and shotgun barrels that could have been used in an assault, according to a search warrant. Forensic technicians also obtained fingerprints and DNA evidence from the crime scene.

Cartier Drive roadblock DNA eliminates family, friends as suspects

Residents on Cartier Drive said police collected DNA samples from them about three weeks after the attack, which experts said was a way to rule people out as suspects.

Sources said Tuesday that the DNA eliminated Taft's relatives as suspects, including Holton. Investigators are now viewing the attack potentially as a random crime, sources said.

Taft's family has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction. Anyone with information that might help police is asked to call Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-HELP.

61 Comments

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  • passport423 Apr 15, 2010

    Well said boatrokr! (note: Ted Bundy used to totally incapacitate his victims with one blow that made hardly any noise at all. That's how he was able to kill/rape one girl after another in that sorority house.)

  • gusandcarla Apr 15, 2010

    Was Kathy Taft prescribed pain medicines? I did not see it on the items that were seized from the property. The reason I noticed this is because when a family member of mine had knee replacement surgery, the home physical therapist said to be sure and keep the door locked because people looking for drugs would notice that he was using a walker and had a bandaged knee and would assume there may be prescriptions in the house. Who had access to the information of where Kathy Taft was staying after her surgery (including medical staff, sister's friends, Kathy's friends)? Just another angle to think about, maybe.

  • Prancy Apr 15, 2010

    I think everyone should keep their eyes open for any evidence that would lead to an arrest and conviction of the killer, especially law enforcment. Therefore, I am a little shocked that WRAL is making big headlines saying that LE has eliminated family and friends. WHY? They say sources, however, WNCT, a Greenville station, reported yesterday, that while WRAL is reporting this as fact, Raleigh PD tells them that it is NOT true and that have not eliminated anyone. They say that information did not come from them and they have made no statements regarding suspects. I have a link, but I'm not sure if it's okay to cite it here. If anyone knows let me know and I will provide it.

  • boatrokr Apr 15, 2010

    The comments on this thread make me sick. I had the privilege of working with Ms. Taft. Her family is extremely close-knit. They're law-abiding, highly educated citizens who aren't involved with drugs or any other criminal element.

    This is a sad, random crime. Her family is devastated. I can't imagine what her sister is going through....she narrowly escaped becoming a victim herself. Thank God the intruder probably never knew she was in the house. She is living with the bitter knowledge that her sister was brutalized while she slept.

    There's a lesson here, folks: you aren't safe. All it takes is one unlocked window or door. Footsteps in the hall at night? Other residents will naturally assume it's another resident going to the bathroom, kitchen, etc. A knife to the throat, one hard blow while the person sleeps....it can happen. Lock your doors and windows, and maintain situational awareness when you're not home. Your life is in your own hands.

  • carla349 Apr 14, 2010

    It was done? What was done? She seems more sure she's not a suspect then the police must be!

    Oh, and just so we are all aware, you CAN read the stories on WRAL without ever having to see the comments on GOLO. Really, you can! Might save some of you the high blood pressure if you just stick to the facts as they are fed to you like good little citizens. When they want you to know what happened, they'll let you know..."let the cops do their work" isn't that what your ilk is fond of saying? You can do that without reading GOLO, right?

  • c2sides Apr 14, 2010

    fatchance and deathrownot et.al the golo'rs I'd sit in the porch armchair group of fantasy morons with you anyday. That shoe fits just fine.

    JUSTICE FOR KATHY TAFT. Speedy and Swift.

  • fatchanceimwrong Apr 14, 2010

    Okay, I've got it figured out now. The sister was supposed to stay the night & take care of her, but went to the bar, got drunk & left with someone, leaving her car in the HT lot. While at the bar, she meets someone with coke and they walk to the house to split it up & have a couple beers while there. This person sees her leave the bar with the guy & breaks in the house looking for more drugs. After finding none, he finds Kathy and assaults her, still high on coke. The sister gets dropped off at her car in the morn and after cranking it, she gets some more smoochin' from her date and locks the keys in the car. She's covering up her wild reckless night because she was supposed to be there taking care of her sister who got assaulted when she was gone. So the perp is someone that was at the bar that night & sold some drugs to the sister.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Apr 14, 2010

    If you're not interested in reading theories about this story, why are you here?

  • dugmeister Apr 14, 2010

    I love gossip mongers - makes me feel better about myself knowing I am not of that loser mentality ilk. yeh... makes me feel all warm and smelly inside. But seems like everyone wants to be Mrs. Kravitz. Well people... NEWSFLASH!! There IS and will ALWAYS BE only ONE Mrs. Kravitz!!! (huh? what's Lenny's mom got to do with this?)

  • fatchanceimwrong Apr 14, 2010

    A theory I read here about the sister possibly meeting someone at the bar, leaving her car in the lot and coming home with some guy who ended up raping and beating Kathy doesn't seem feasible. The guy would surely know that the sister could identify him, and they would have been seen together at the bar. Though that would explain why her car was left in the lot, with her going that morning to retreive it and locking the keys in the car. It could've been semi-random in that she lined up a drug deal with someone from the bar and word got out to someone else that 2 women with drugs were partying nearby. I believe it revolves around drugs somehow.

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