Local News

Body identified as missing Tarboro woman

Posted January 21, 2011 12:16 p.m. EST
Updated January 21, 2011 9:14 p.m. EST

— A woman's body found Wednesday has been identified as a 22-year-old Tarboro woman missing for the past three weeks, police said Friday evening. 

Aimee Lynn Pitt, 22, was reported missing on Jan. 3. Police said she was last seen on Dec. 30.

Pitt's body was found in the house that she and her boyfriend, Ben Harrelson, shared, at 1209 Newsome St. 

The body was identified through dental records. Police have not released a cause of death.

Longtime friend Christy Barnes called Pitt a "sweetheart" and said she was family-oriented.

"I love her so much. (She's) my little sister. I wish I could see her right now," Barnes said.

Investigators interviewed Harrelson twice since Pitt's disappearance, according to the search warrants. He told them that, when he got home from work on Dec. 30, Pitt had been drinking and they had a fight.

Harrelson told investigators that he then went to bed, but Pitt stayed up. He said he heard the phone ring twice during the night, but he didn't get up to answer it and he didn't know if Pitt took the calls. She wasn't at home when he woke up the next morning, and he hadn't seen her since then, he told investigators.

Barnes said she had never met Harrelson but said that Pitt always had good things to say about him.

Pitt's MySpace page paints a picture of a happy relationship. She wrote, "Ben is the best thing that has ever happened to me...he treats me like a princess…I'm in Love."

Yet, police characterized the case in search warrants as a murder investigation, noting that statements by some of Harrelson's friends cast doubt on his story of Pitt's disappearance.

One friend told investigators that Harrelson came over to his house the night of Dec. 30, contradicting Harrelson's statement that he was at home, according to the search warrants. Another friend, Gary Scott, told investigators that Harrelson contacted him on Dec. 30 to get access to a farm off N.C. Highway 33, the search warrants state.

On Jan. 8, the day after his second interview with police, Harrelson was involved in a wreck in Halifax County, according to the search warrants. He was driving at about 90 mph when he lost control of his vehicle, which went off the roadway, flipped and hit a sign.

Police declined to say Friday how badly Harrelson was injured in the wreck or whether he is hospitalized.

Scott told investigators that, shortly before the wreck, he had told Harrelson he had spoken to police about Pitt's disappearance. Scott said that Harrelson became upset when he heard that and started talking about committing suicide, according to the search warrants.

Police seized a wallet, a cell phone, a keyring, a bag with combs and brushes, a check stub and prescription labels from Harrelson's Dodge Caravan. They also seized a computer, a bed sheet, a belt, a closet rod, handwritten notes, pill bottles and two scales from the Newsome Street home.

The second search warrant also notes that police took samples of two red stains on the kitchen floor.