Local News

Raleigh PD searching for clues in Allister Drive killing

Posted May 15, 2013
Updated May 16, 2013

— Police investigating the homicide of a mother found dead in her Raleigh apartment near North Hills said Wednesday they have not yet determined whether the crime was random.

Raleigh police asked the public to stay alert and said they have increased patrols near Allister North Hills Apartments, where 30-year-old Melissa Dawn Huggins-Jones was found Tuesday covered in blood on a bed inside her apartment.

Her 8-year-old daughter approached a construction crew working at the apartments shortly after 7:30 a.m. to seek help for her mother. A construction worker who went to her aid told a 911 call taker, “There’s blood everywhere. I think it’s too late for (CPR).”

Raleigh police filed a search warrant Tuesday to obtain the victim’s Facebook records, including private and deleted messages. Family members told investigators that Huggins-Jones had deleted her Facebook account on Saturday, two days before her death, according to the warrant.

"I was just shocked. I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it," said her friend, Chastity King. "I really just thought that there was some mistake. Melissa loved her children. She was an amazing mother. She loved those children more than anything in the world."

Huggins-Jones was originally from Elizabethtown but moved to Raleigh two weeks ago from Cleveland, Tenn., where she worked at First Tennessee Bank.

She brought her daughter with her, but her 12-year-old son stayed in Cleveland with his father to finish out the school year. The couple met in high school and were recently divorced, friends said.

"She was just a really good person, driven in her career – a good mom," said real estate agent and friend Darne Ridgley. "It just doesn't make sense."

Her former co-worker at the bank, Desha Maples, said Huggins-Jones sent her a text message around 11:30 p.m. Monday.

"She had a very hard Mother's Day because she was in Raleigh and her son was here," Maples said. "I told her to keep her chin up and that God had given her a new path."

allister drive homicide Investigators not sure Raleigh murder was random

Jennifer Hair grew up in the same neighborhood as Huggins-Jones in Elizabethtown, where friends were saddened to learn of her death. Many of them on Wednesday shared memories of the girl with the warm, caring personality who graduated from East Bladen High School.

"(She was) just a normal kid, full of life. You always saw her smiling," she said. "It was nice to know that she was moving back to be closer to her family."

Hair said the fact that her friend was trying to start a new life makes her death more devastating to those who loved her. Friends have created a Facebook tribute page in her memory.

Crime scene investigators spent Wednesday collecting evidence from her apartment building. They declined to say whether anyone else lived in the apartment with Huggins-Jones and her daughter. The girl is staying with relatives, police said.

The building where the body was found is the only one occupied in Allister North Hills Apartments; the rest of the complex is under construction. Raleigh police spokesman Jim Sughrue said Wednesday that other residents in the building are staying in other places until investigators finish their work at the crime scene.

Christian Sloan lives near the apartments and said she had always considered the neighborhood safe.

"I was really sad and surprised," she said. "It really makes me uneasy not knowing whether the person knew the person or not, or whether it was just some random act of hatred."

Police said they had no suspects in the case, and they asked anyone with information to call Crime Stoppers at 919-834-4357.

A funeral for Huggins-Jones is planned for 2 p.m. Sunday at Elizabethtown Baptist Church. Visitation will be 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

28 Comments

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  • heard-it-all-before May 22, 8:39 a.m.

    wow just look how many of you nosy speculators are eating your words about the whodunit now that this is an old article.

    self-proclaimed experts...

  • Sweetgrl3 May 16, 1:37 p.m.

    I think it was someone she knew. With as much blood as they have described, sounds personal.

  • NoObamaCare May 16, 1:16 p.m.

    sasha- You are correct..thank you for that information I over looked. That closes the time of murder window even more.

  • sasha51497 May 16, 12:20 p.m.

    AirBorne Daddy - The time of death would have to be sometime between 10pm-4 a.m.

    Time of death would have to be after 11:30pm since she sent a text to her former co-worker at that time. Very sad and disturbing situation.

  • NoObamaCare May 16, 12:04 p.m.

    I doubt there was forced entry...I beleive they would have put that in the report that someone forced their way in. The time of death would have to be sometime between 10pm-4 a.m. This would be the only time that the daughter would have been alseep to not have seen anything, and time enough for her body to lose enough heat when the construction worker found her. I really think the daughter knows something that will tip the LEO's off to find the killer.

  • NoObamaCare May 16, 12:00 p.m.

    When I wrote about the son...it was yesterday and they had not yet put out the new information about the son staying behind to finish the school year.

  • gingerlynn May 16, 11:37 a.m.

    I doubt it was construction worker. She was already cold. Somebody she knew unless there is sign of forced entry they are not talking about.

  • TeresaBee May 16, 11:25 a.m.

    I am speculating that it was a construction worker working at the site.

  • aquamarine46 May 16, 10:54 a.m.

    Airborne Daddy.......articlen says her son stayed behind with his dad until the end of the school year.

  • sadie1278 May 16, 10:44 a.m.

    "Unbelievable. Some of you automatically assume HUSBAND..."

    It's not unbelievable, it's a sad but true statistical reality. About 30% of women murdered are murdered by husbands or boyfriends. The only higher percentage group for perpatrators is "strangers", which is why investigators (and apparently amateur internet sleuths...) always start with the spouse. "Politcal correctness" doesn't have a place in investigative work.

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