Local News

Family says they were deceived by late son's friend

Posted May 13, 2009 6:02 p.m. EDT
Updated May 13, 2009 7:44 p.m. EDT

— Ryan Evans was a wonderful, kind man, his mother, Delores Evans, recalls – the type of man who would leave his own home to loan it to a friend in need.

At the age of 32, he was also a hard worker who ran the family business and enjoyed doing so. Family members said he had a great life.

But on Nov. 16, 2008, he shot himself in the woods behind the Streets at Southpoint in Durham.

"There was no indication," Delores Evans said. "There was nothing in Ryan's behavior that would indicate that he would shoot himself."

Even at the end of his life, Evans said, her son was generous. Eight people's lives, including hers, were saved with organs harvested from his body.



Through her kidney transplant surgery and the grief of losing a loved one, Evans said she and her family came to rely on her son's friend, Belinda Jones.

Jones had helped Ryan out with the family business's finances, and family members said he had helped her with her and her daughter's needs.

"She was so helpful to us," Evans said, saying that Jones helped with funeral arrangements, planned a video tribute, designed Ryan's funeral program and helped with the obituary.

Jones had even asked to be in line with the family during the funeral procession to the burial.

Family members said she helped with the decision-making process regarding the organ donation and sat by Evans' side as she recovered from surgery.

"This was the type of relationship that we thought we had," Evans said.

Then, Evans discovered that someone had taken more than $50,000 from her son's bank account.

Investigators eventually charged Jones with identity theft, and several counts of obtaining and attempting to obtain property by false pretenses.

She was arrested March 5 and indicted on all charges in April. She is out of jail on a $15,000 bond.

Investigators said she wrote checks from Ryan's bank account – one for $26,000, one for $24,000 and one for $10,000 – although the $10,000 check never cleared. Some were dated before his death.

They also believe she went with an unidentified man pretending to be Ryan and used his identity to buy a car.

"This blows my mind. It really does, and it hurts," Evans said.

The investigation is ongoing, but right now, detectives do not think there are any more victims.

Evans said the car was taken back when the check bounced. She believes Jones had access to her son's personal information and checks since she helped him with the business.

"We were just devastated," Evans said.

Now, she wants Jones to go to jail.

Jones declined to comment Wednesday. Her attorney, Ralph Frasier, did not return calls for comment.