WRAL Investigates

Families of murdered, missing women march in Rocky Mount

Posted September 3, 2009

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— Friends and family members of a group of missing or slain Rocky Mount women planned a neighborhood march on Thursday evening to encourage people to come forward with new leads in the cases.

Five African-American women – Taraha Shenice Nicholson, 29, Jarniece Latonya Hargrove, 31, Ernestine Battle, 50, Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, 35, and Melody LaShae Wiggins, 29 – each were reported missing before their remains were found in rural Edgecombe County. A sixth set of remains, yet to be identified, was found in Rocky Mount in February. Three women similar descriptions and backgrounds are missing from Rocky Mount.

Yolanda Lancaster reported missing on March 30 Family of slain women march in Rocky Mount

The families of eight of these women formed the community group MOMS (Murdered or Missing Sisters). In the past month, the group held fundraisers to help raise money for three electronic billboards, which show each woman individually and then all together. A question mark represents the sixth unidentified victim.

Antwan Maurice Pittman, 31, whose last known address was 219 Anderson St., was charged Tuesday with one count of first-degree murder in the death of Nicholson.

The family of Yolanda Renee Lancaster, who was last seen on Feb. 5, hope that Pittman’s arrest shows investigators are making headway in the other cases.

“I am hoping that since they got him – and I’m praying – everything else will fall into place,” Lancaster’s mother Juray Tucker said this week.

Tucker is raising Lancaster's 10-year-old daughter and 9-year-old brother.

"They're beginning to cry and ask where their mother is. That's hard. I don't know what to tell them," Tucker said.

Thorpe's mother, Jackie Wiggins, said she attended the walk on Thursday as a way to intervene in her daughter's absence.

About 40 people attended the march through a neighborhood off of East Grand Avenue.

MOMS is planning another awareness event on Sept. 19.

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  • ccacrabbitdog Sep 4, 2009

    see chart, i don't race has anything to do with it. its the life style they led..hello...u hang around with dogs u get fleas...i can garrantee that if they were all killed in their homes and not street runners it would have made the news sooner...besides all the posts i've seen have been bashing thier families not the victims....again where was all this concern when they were running the streets..its a ligit question to ask....

  • See Chart Sep 4, 2009

    If they were white women this would be on TV every second
    of the day even on Nancy Grace's show
    Good Luck to these family members and the Police.
    I love how some blame the families for marching about
    the murder of their loved ones,how low can you go?

  • ccacrabbitdog Sep 4, 2009

    dito..........alot of hot air up there.........

  • Sound Tech Sep 4, 2009

    As someone who works and lives around the Rocky Mount area I do feel as though some family members of these women are finally getting the attention of the law enforcement personnell that they deserve. However there are a lot of people that have joined the cause just so they can "grandstand", especially a certain Rocky Mount City Council member.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Sep 4, 2009

    I agree 100% with the first 5 posts. If these family and friends had spent this same amount of time trying to clean up these women, this probably would not have happened.

  • AnotherIgnoredComment Sep 4, 2009

    Heres an idea...after the sun goes down and the prostitutes come out...march then, make their lives miserable and make it impossible for them to do business...that will fix the problem.

  • The Fox Sep 4, 2009

    Most of the rest of us don't have time to march.

  • kellyaustin96 Sep 4, 2009

    Yes a march is just the ticket, LOL. it is fo rthe marchers, it will do nothing to sove the crime. Just a little bit of attention. As we all know, a criminal and his associates are definitely afraid of marchers. "Having our say," and "having our voices heard," in response to a criminal action will not solve it. SSDD.

  • rjacks20 Sep 4, 2009

    Where was the concern for these women when they were working the street to pay for their addictions. Were their children wondering where there mothers were then? This is certainly a tragedy, but maybe there should have been this much concern for these women before they went missing.

  • mom2threecld Sep 4, 2009

    what's up with marching? i don't get it... i understand the grief and the need to do something about these crimes, but i just don't understanding people that march in the street. does it really accomplish anything?