Local News

Human remains found in Edgecombe County

Posted January 11, 2011

— Edgecombe County authorities have notified the families of two missing Rocky Mount women after a set of human remains was found in a rural part of the county on Monday, the sheriff said Tuesday.

Sheriff James Knight said Tuesday that hunters searching for deer antlers found the body off a path in some woods off Battleboro-Leggett Road near Speights Chapel Road shortly before 5 p.m. and called authorities.

Knight said the remains have not yet been identified and that it was unclear how long they had been in the woods.

The remains were found just outside the search grid where the North Carolina National Guard spent two days in April helping authorities search for Yolanda Renee Lancaster, 37, and Joyce Renee Durham, 49.

Lancaster, who has been missing since February 2009, and Durham, last seen in June 2007, are among a group of 10 women whose disappearances are the subject of an investigation by a special task force to see if the disappearances are related.

Over the past five years, eight have turned up dead. The remains of many have been found along Seven Bridges Road, a 13-mile country road between the rural Edgecombe communities of Battleboro and Whitakers.

Battleboro-Leggett Road is in the vicinity.

Human remains found in Edgecombe County Human remains found in Edgecombe County

“It’s similar,” Knight said Tuesday of the remains found. “The M.O. is similar to the ones we’ve been investigating in this area.”

All of the women share similar backgrounds and physical appearances, and many frequented Holly Street in Rocky Mount, an area known for drug activity and prostitution. Many of the women knew each other, their families have said.

Authorities charged Antwan Maurice Pittman in September 2009 in one of the deaths and have since named him as a suspect or person of interest in at least five others.

Family members of Lancaster and Durham say this is the third time within the past year that they have been notified about remains that could be their daughters.

“Can’t nobody understand how hard it is to keep going through this over and over,” Lancaster’s mother, Juray Tucker, said Tuesday.

“We just put our faith and hope in God’s hands,” Durham’s stepfather, Winston Kemp, said.

In August, Tucker said she has tried to remain hopeful, even though she knows there is little likelihood that her daughter will be found alive.

“As long as it has been with no word from her, I have to be realistic that there’s a possibility that it can go another way. I’m trying to prepare myself for that. I know you can’t, but I‘ve got to be real. I've got to be real," she said.


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  • frosty Jan 12, 2011

    I like to walk in the woods with a rifle weather I am hunting or not. And it still is squirrel season.

    If it wasn't for hunters how many bodies would have been found at all?

    Though some see it that way, hunting is not just killing.

  • DandyJenn Jan 12, 2011

    "The question I have is this: Isn't this the same area where they sent in the National Guard and several Law Enforcement agencies to search. Were they actually looking or going through the motions."

    Story says the area where the remains were found was 'just outisde the search grid' of the previous search.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Jan 12, 2011


    Won't matter. As long as you live a risky life, there will ALWAYS be someone out there preying on you.

  • dlk13ster Jan 12, 2011

    "wondered if they were illegally hunting."-oldb77

    I think the story covered that, when it said they were looking for deer antlers. Now that the season is over, they probably figured they'd look for antlers the bucks have started shedding after the breeding season.

    Still, I'm glad they were able to find the poor woman's remains. Even if it isn't the victims listed here, at least one family will be getting some closure, albeit in the worst possible form.

  • sysee1 Jan 11, 2011

    What about the missing teen (Jalesa Reynolds) from Scotland Neck, they never mention her? What happen with that case?

  • 4DukeTillDeath Jan 11, 2011

    I think they were getting at that hunting season is over and wondered if they were illegally hunting.

  • newwake Jan 11, 2011

    I wonder if those hunters that found the body had hunting rifles on them while "hunting" for deer antlers.

    Huh? What? This is absolutely not relavent to this story at all. Why would you post a comment like this???

  • horsepamperer Jan 11, 2011

    TeresaBee...??What does that have to do with this?? Unless you think the hunters shot the remains...it's irrelevant.

    I just pray for the families of this unfortunate soul and the one(s) that may remain missing with no closure.

  • ncmickey Jan 11, 2011

    They added the suspects name and such AFTER I posted. So how about YOU pay attention.....

  • 4DukeTillDeath Jan 11, 2011

    Mom, they added that part a little later. The breaking story never mentioned him.