Local News

Police investigating three deaths in Lumberton

Posted June 8

— Authorities in Lumberton are working to figure out if the deaths of three women in the last two months are connected.

The bodies of two women were discovered in April, one on East 5th Street and the other on Peachtree Lane. Last weekend, a third body was found on East 8th Street.

Marcus McCollum, 15, and a friend discovered the body of 28-year-old Megan Oxendine on June 3. He said he was playing basketball nearby when they noticed a foul odor.

"I could see where the hip of her body was," McCollum said. "So, that's when I got on my knees and I looked and I saw like the hip. Then my friend didn't see it, so we walked around the other way and I had to move the bush back and that's when he looked and said, 'Boy, that's a body.'"

The body was found near railroad tracks that led to an area where the two bodies were found in April.

Christina Bennett, 32, was found inside an abandoned home on Peachtree Street. Three hours later, 32-year-old Rhonda Jones was found outside of a house on Fifth Street.

The State Bureau of Investigation and the Lumberton Police Department are calling all three cases individual death investigations.

"We haven't ruled out the possibility that they are connected, but we certainly don't know at this point," said Capt. Terry Parker. "We're conducting neighborhood canvases and interviews trying to determine whether they are, or are not, related."

The community is now mourning the loss of three women. McCollum said Oxendine was no stranger.

"She was well known around here," he said. "She would come up to the house. My dad would talk to her and the neighbors. Like she became real close with them."

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