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Bonds lowered for pair linked to missing Durham boy, woman

Posted April 13, 2011

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— A judge on Wednesday rejected prosecutors' requests for high bonds on a woman and her boyfriend, whom police have linked to the disappearances of her son and another woman.

Vania Rae Sisk, 25, and Peter Lucas Moses, 27, were arrested late Tuesday during a raid at 121-B Dunstan Ave. in Durham. Police had been searching for them since they failed to appear in court last month on various charges.

Investigators said in their recent application for a search warrant that they believe Sisk and Moses were "directly involved" in the deaths of Jadon Higganbothan, 5, and Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 28.

Jadon, who is Sisk's son, hasn't been seen since October, while McKoy has been missing since December.

No charges have been filed in the disappearances, but prosecutors on Wednesday asked for high bonds on Sisk and McKoy, saying they are flight risks and might be involved in other criminal matters for which they haven't yet been charged.

District Judge William Marsh lowered Sisk's bond from $5,000 to $2,000 and dropped Moses' bond to $53,000 after prosecutors requested a $100,000 bond.

In addition to their failure to appear charges, Sisk faces a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, while Moses faces charges of second-degree kidnapping, assault by pointing a gun, assault on a female and communicating threats.

Arrest warrants state that Moses kidnapped a 16-year-old girl, hit her several times, pointed a semi-automatic gun at her and threatened to kill her.

Relatives of Sisk and Moses declined to comment after the court hearing.

Vania Sisk in court Bonds lowered for pair linked to missing Durham boy, woman

Jadon's father, Jamiel Higganbothan, and McKoy's mother, Yvonne McKoy, both said they were relieved by the arrests but fear that Moses and Sisk will be released on bond. They also said they still want to know what happened to their children.

"I want revenge. I don't want to necessarily take the law into my own hands, but there are some moments where I wish I could," Higganbothan said.

He divorced Sisk several years ago and now lives in Georgia. He was visiting relatives in Winston-Salem on Wednesday.

Sisk was a good mother when they were married, Higganbothan said, but he has had trouble keeping in touch with his son since the divorce. He said he never imagined his son was in any danger with her, and he has a hard time believing the various developments in the case in recent weeks.

"It's like a twist to everything. I'm still waiting to be pinched so I can wake up. It's really crazy," he said.

Police have declined to comment on the case, but search warrants indicate that investigators found a bullet, shell casing and evidence of human blood and "overt cleaning" inside the house at 2109 Pear Tree Lane.

Investigators allege that Sisk and her son, Moses and McKoy lived in the house with members of the Black Hebrews, a religious sect that believes it descends directly from the ancient tribes of Israel.

A confidential informant told Durham police in February that both Jadon and McKoy were killed in the Pear Tree Lane house and that their bodies were disposed of.

Higganbothan said is haunted by the thought of what Jadon might have experienced.

"It still just plays over and over, and I'm having a hard time with that," he said.

Police have searched the home several times in the past two months. On one occasion, they found Moses hiding inside a cabinet. He was served with outstanding warrants on charges of carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm in city limits and writing a worthless check, but he was released after posting bond.

A boarded-up home at 2310 So Hi Drive and some nearby woods also were searched for evidence in the case. It was unclear what police were looking for or what they might have found.

Sisk, Moses and others moved to Colorado Springs early this year, and Durham police asked Colorado authorities to check on Jadon's whereabouts. Authorities put several other children in the Colorado Springs home into protective custody but couldn't find Jadon.

Sisk later returned to Durham and met with investigators in early March. She told them she left Jadon with an acquaintance on Feb. 20, but police said her statements were inconsistent.

60 Comments

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  • stonky Apr 14, 2011

    after seeing this story, it makes me wonder if Crystal mangum (Duke lacrosse escort party girl) is going to get a slap on the wrist...Durham has a way of just letting bad criminals get back onto the streets

  • claytonn48 Apr 14, 2011

    @barbstillkickin you are correct as to letting the most alleged dangerous criminals out with a bond reduction; however, the DPD also arrests innocent people and charge them with bogus charges when they were supposed to be charged with something else. For an example, an incident occurred where a couple were having some words amongst themselves and the police were called. Came with guns blazing and one of the individuals was charged with burglary and kidnapping. Case still pending because the DA wants to trump up charges such as mentioned when none of that occurred. It was maybe and I mean maybe a domestic disturbance, but definitely not burglary and kidnapping. The one accused lives at this residence and did not remove anyone from that residence. So since they have lowered these individuals bonds is truly ridiculous. The Durham system does not work for all those involved and the DA won't admit a mistake was made. This is an example of the little people being made an example.

  • barbstillkickin Apr 14, 2011

    Well if these people get out they will either run or some vigilante will see justice served. It is a shame that criminals get let out all the time by crooked judges. Durham is the high crime rate so if you want to do a crime take it to Durham you will get off. Well maybe not cause the good people that get in a little trouble are the examples for the courts so they can say they are trying to control crime. Maybe they should prevent murderers from getting bond. Old days if you killed or attempted to kill there was NO BOND PERIOD. Oh where are the good old days.

  • kbo80 Apr 13, 2011

    Judges should be LEO'S before they are judges then they would not make some of the decisions they make. LEO'S work long and hard for judge's to come in and make their work seem in vain. It is just plain sad!!!

  • shortcake53 Apr 13, 2011

    Why dont they just give them keys to the city?? I am so sick of seeing criminals given breaks to make things easier for them.
    "Punishment" is a joke.

  • kbo80 Apr 13, 2011

    Another nutty judge. Clearly they are flight risk if they are back and forth between Colorado and North Carolina. And they have both skipped recent court dates.

  • biznetads Apr 13, 2011

    The judge is probably a DNA also. They are everywhere!

  • SaltlifeLady Apr 13, 2011

    These two people are HUGE flight risks.....what was this judge thinking???

  • Truth Time Apr 13, 2011

    north, you show little to no knowledge of what bonds are designed for... Bonds are to ensure appearance in court... Severity of the cases at hand is only ONE thing they consider... Criminal history and likelihood of skipping town is another... They already are shown to be flight risks and possible upcoming charges are to make it more likely they would flee... This judge might have blood on his hands one day

  • lhsandie Apr 13, 2011

    Doesn't it seem strange that this is her son that is missing and she doesn't seem to be concerned about finding him? I hope that this can be resolved soon for all the family members of these two people.

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