Toddler, infant found stabbed to death in Hoke County; father charged
Posted March 25
Raeford, N.C. — A toddler and days-old infant who were reported missing Friday following a domestic incident in Fayetteville were found stabbed to death early Saturday in Hoke County, and their father is charged with their deaths, Sheriff Hubert Peterkin said.
Authorities discovered the bodies of 2-year-old Serenity Freeman and 4-day-old Genesis Freeman at about 2 a.m. inside a car off the side of the road near the intersection of N.C. Highway 211 and Army Road.
Both children were stabbed multiple times with a hunter's knife, Peterkin said.
Their presumed father, 30-year-old Tillman Freeman III, was in custody in Hoke County early Saturday charged with two counts of murder. He was jailed under no bond.
Tillman Freeman had been charged by Fayetteville police on Friday with two counts each of child abuse and child endangerment after his children were reported missing and he refused to give investigators information on their whereabouts.
Fayetteville police said the mother went to the hospital by herself and left the girls with Tillman Freeman. When the mother returned home, no one was there.
Police said Tillman Freeman told his wife that he dropped the children off at another location, but she couldn't find them there, either. The woman then called police to report the children missing.
Tillman Freeman alleged his wife was seeing another person and that both the children weren't his, according to Peterkin.. After the allegation and a fight between the two, Tillman Freeman took the children.
"He made allegations that she was maybe involved with someone, that the kids wasn't his," Petekin said. "That the kind of verbiage that took place. A lot of rage, a lot of anger, and unfortunately the kids were the ones that paid for it."
Peterkin said Saturday that Freeman was taken into custody on Friday afternoon in Hoke County after authorities got a call around 4 p.m. about a suspicious person outside a Raeford doctor's office.
When Fayetteville police came to Hoke County to question Freeman about the disappearance of Serenity and Genesis, he only told investigators that they were in Hoke County.
“That’s when they realized that the children were still there, in Hoke County, and there was possible harm done to the kids based on what he was telling them,” Peterkin said.
Peterkin said Freeman told Fayetteville police that his children were in Hoke County. He rode around with Fayetteville officers all over the county, but said he wasn't sure of the location because he was unfamiliar with the area.
Fayetteville officers suspected something had occurred near Army Road and asked Hoke County sheriff's deputies to search the area. Deputies scoured the woods and found Freeman's car a few yards off the road around 2 a.m.
“I just can’t wrap my head around it,” Peterkin said. “In 30 years, I’ve seen children done wrong. I’ve seen murder scenes with kids, but this one is unbelievable.”
James McGeachy said his fiance is the sister of the children's mother.
He said he blames the violent domestic situation on Freeman's cocaine use. He said the children's mother is staying at his home.
“She woke up. She was crying. She was saying she needed to go be with her babies. She was just tore up,” McGeachy said.
Freeman also has a 5-year-old son. His first court date is scheduled for Monday. He has been convicted if several felonies dating back to 2004, including robbery, assault, breaking and entering, larceny and credit card theft .