Dispatches from a Reporter's Notebook

Last Moments

Posted August 15, 2008 7:10 p.m. EDT

Imagine if the last memory of your mother was hearing a door open and close as you lay snuggled beneath your covers trying to get five more minutes of sleep.

If you had known you would never see her again, you would have probably jumped up, leaving the secure cocoon of your warm bed. You would have hugged her, held onto her, not wanted to let her go, and told her how much you loved her.

Keisha Moreland Mangum never got that chance. When her mother stopped by her house on the morning of Aug. 22, 2006, to drop off jelly for her grandson's lunch, Mangum had no idea she would never see her mother again.

She had no way of knowing that in the next hour, her mother, Cynthia Moreland, would be kidnapped from a Raleigh parking garage, near her office at Progress Energy, by a man named Antonio Chance. She had no way of knowing that Chance would ultimately kill Cynthia Moreland and discard her body in a field in Harnett County – not to be found for 10 days.

But now, Keisha knows the truth. She knows that the sound of the front door to her house opening, the sound of the jar being placed on the kitchen table, and the sound of the door closing are the last precious moments of life she would share with her mother.

Cynthia Moreland called her daughter from her cell phone minutes after leaving the house to tell her the jelly was on the table. She also told Keisha to be sure to reset her alarm so that she wouldn't be late for work. Cynthia was always guiding her only daughter like that, playfully prodding her to be on time. Keisha was groggy during the early-morning phone call. It was the last time she would ever hear her mother's voice or speak to her mother.

But she didn't know this at the time. It was a typical conversation that mothers and daughters have many times a day.

Keisha Moreland Mangum now hangs on these moments. They will forever be etched in her mind. At times, when she hears the door open or her cell phones ring, her heart sometimes skips a beat. Can you blame her?

About this Blog:

WRAL's Amanda Lamb offers a behind-the-scenes look at what TV news reporters do, the people they meet and how their jobs affect them.