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Unsolved slaying haunts Rougemont community

Posted March 8, 2015

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— Almost a decade after a woman was found slain in northern Durham County, investigators are no closer to finding her killer.

Rosa Crabtree, 68, was found stabbed to death in her Rougemont home on Nov. 7, 2005. She had been stabbed five times with a pair of scissors, and a Bible was lying next to her on the living room floor, authorities said.

Crabtree had returned home from church and was getting ready for bed when she was killed, her family said.

The slaying was the first homicide in Rougemont in 40 years.

Tony Crabtree, who found his mother's body during his daily visit to her home, will never forget the scene.

"I'm glad nobody got to go in the house and see what I seen," he said.

The slaying still haunts his family and the rest of the community.

"It kind of burdens you down a little bit, knowing what took place," he said. "I mean, the evil that was done here to my mother."

Authorities believe the killer's intent was robbery, noting two televisions, a DVD player and some jewelry were taken.

Evidence collected from the house indicates more than one person was involved, but investigators said it's likely only one stabbed the woman most locals referred to as "Miss Rosa Lee."

Investigators hope that an accomplice feels the pang of conscience and comes forward.

"Based on people's record, their previous offenses, larceny's not the worst thing in the world to be charged with," said Lt. Don Paschall of the Durham Sheriff's Office. "Homicide, your first one, is ugly."

Shortly after the incident, investigators spent $2,000 to send some evidence to a private lab for processing instead of the State Bureau of Investigation lab. The move was intended to expedite the investigation, but it hasn't yet resulted in an arrest.

Authorities said DNA samples obtained from inside the house have eliminated some suspects out of 20 persons of interest they initially targeted, but the evidence hasn't linked anyone to the crime.


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