WRAL Investigates

City, county contribute to reward offered in Edgecombe case

Posted September 29, 2009 11:42 a.m. EDT
Updated September 29, 2009 11:47 a.m. EDT

— City and county authorities voted Monday night to offer a $10,000 reward for information related to the deaths of six women in Edgecombe County over the past four years.

The Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office is leading a task force of local, state and FBI investigators looking at connections in the cases of six black women found dead in a rural area of the county.

Since 2005, authorities have recovered the remains of Jarniece Latonya Hargrove, 31, Taraha Shenice Nicholson, 28, Melody LaShae Wiggins, 29; Ernestine Battle, 50, and Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, 35. A sixth body, found in February, has yet to be identified.

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.

The Kefalas Pinto Foundation has offered a $10,000 reward in the case. On Monday, members of the Rocky Mount city council and Edgecombe County board of commissioners agreed to match that amount, putting up $5,000 each for information that directly leads to an arrest and conviction or leads to the discovery of the missing women, Mayor David W. Combs said.

The foundation and local governments also donated funds to the community group formed by the families of the women, MOMS (Murdered or Missing Sisters). MOMS member Stephanie Jones said the group planned to meet Tuesday to discuss ways to spend the donations to keep their loved ones' cases in the public eye.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Twin County Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111.