Local News

Autopsy reveals little about how Rocky Mount woman died

Posted December 18, 2009 2:58 p.m. EST
Updated December 18, 2009 3:14 p.m. EST

— An autopsy on a woman whose body was found near the Nash-Edgecombe county line in February failed to determine how she died.

Rocky Mount police have said the remains of Elizabeth Jane Smallwood, 33, could have been exposed to the elements for as much as a year before they were found along Melton Drive.

In an autopsy report released Friday, the medical examiner wrote that, given the conditions in which she was found, Smallwood's death was "highly suspicious for homicidal violence." The official cause of her death remains undetermined.

A special task force is investigating Smallwood's death, along with the slayings of five women found in the same rural area of Edgecombe County.

Since 2005, authorities have also recovered the remains of Jarniece Latonya Hargrove, 31, Taraha Shenice Nicholson, 28, Melody LaShae Wiggins, 29, Ernestine Battle, 50, and Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, 35.

Three other women with similar descriptions and backgrounds are missing from Rocky Mount. They are: Christine Marie Boone, Renee Joyce Durham and Yolanda Renee Lancaster.

Antwan Maurice Pittman, 31, whose last known address was 219 Anderson St. in Rocky Mount, was charged in August with one count of first-degree murder in Nicholson’s death.

Anyone with information on this case should contact Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111 or the Rocky Mount Police Department at 252-972-1411.