Local News

Man found dead near Lillington home invasion site

Posted October 12, 2011 4:39 p.m. EDT
Updated October 12, 2011 6:28 p.m. EDT

— A man was found dead Wednesday near the site of a home invasion in Lillington.

Two masked men armed with a pellet gun barged into a mobile home at 7288 N.C. Highway 27 West on Tuesday night. Melissa Ratliff's cousin was among the five or six people inside the home during the robbery. At one point, Ratliff said one of the robbers held a knife to her aunt. 

"They had a gun and a knife," Ratliff said. "My cousin retaliated, trying to defend himself."

As the robbers were leaving the scene, Ratliff said, her cousin shot at them. She said her cousin thought he might have hit one of the men but wasn't sure.

Ratliff and other family members said the robbers knew her cousin and had come by the home earlier Tuesday and not wearing masks. 

Harnett County deputies confirmed that they responded to a home invasion at the residence on Tuesday night. On Wednesday afternoon, they were back at the scene after someone found a man's body in a wooded area near the home.

Investigators have not said if they believe the man was one of the robbers, but Ratliff is convinced it is. 

"I hate that it happened, but you've got to defend yourself. That's how I feel about it," she said.

A woman, who said she feared the body belonged to her son, wept near the scene on Wednesday. She declined to be interviewed.

The body, which has not been positively identified, was sent to the medical examiner for an autopsy.