Local News

Family questions death of murder victim's longtime partner

Posted April 15, 2015 5:50 p.m. EDT
Updated April 15, 2015 5:54 p.m. EDT

— The longtime partner of Ron Lane, a Wayne Community College employee who was shot dead Monday shortly after he arrived for work, was reported missing and later found dead last year.

Chuck Tobin was found in November hanging from a tree in the woods behind the home the couple shared in Seven Springs.

Lane’s shooting death this week prompted Chuck Tobin’s sister to speak out about her brother’s death, saying she still holds concerns about the relationship that began in 2002, when Tobin was 16 and Lane was 32.

Carolyn Tobin believes the relationship began earlier, when Tobin was 14. She said the family still is not convinced that Chuck Tobin took his own life.

“He was with Ron Lane, (who) was extremely controlling of his behavior, wouldn't let him get with any of us at any time, was real clingy, jealous,” Carolyn Tobin said Wednesday. “You know the way he was clingy to him, (it) made myself in particular uncomfortable.”

Lane reported his partner missing in July and posted daily messages on Facebook asking Tobin to return.

Four months later, hunters found Tobin's remains.

Carolyn Tobin said she has always felt the circumstances surrounding her brother's death were suspicious.

“Absolutely, I mean they searched with canines, but yet they missed his body 900 feet from the yard, above ground in the summertime, detained. How is that possible?” she said.

Wayne County Sheriff's investigators ruled Tobin's death a suicide, saying Lane had no role in his disappearance.

"He was completely cleared in the investigation," Maj. Tom Effler said. "He was emotionally distraught over the situation."

Kenneth Morgan Stancil III, 20, a former work-study student who worked for Lane in the college print shop, is charged with murder in Lane’s death. Stancil has confessed to the crime, saying he killed him because Lane made sexual advances toward his younger brother.

Lane's murder has brought Tobin's family's pain back, especially when it comes to Stancil's allegations that Lane made overtures toward his teenage brother on Facebook.

“I don't condone any murder, but I feel it's just a, just a sad thing that (Stancil) also lost his life, and he'll be in prison forever,” Carolyn Tobin said.

Lane’s relatives in Seven Springs declined to speak to WRAL News, saying it was too soon for them to talk. But they said Lane was a good, kind man who was close to his family and always had an upbeat outlook on life.