Local News

Remains of Durham sect case victims released to families

Posted October 21, 2011 2:39 p.m. EDT

— A Superior Court judge on Friday released the remains of a Durham boy and a woman believed to have been killed by members of a religious group to their families – more than four months after the bodies were found buried in a Durham yard.

The bodies of Jadon Higganbothan, 4, and Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 28, were found in June buried behind a house on Ashe Street in Durham. Jadon had been missing since last October, and McKoy was last seen in December.

Autopsies determined that both had been shot in the head.

Peter Lucas Moses, 27, faces first-degree murder charges in their deaths, and prosecutors have said they plan to seek the death penalty against him.

Defense attorneys had until Friday to review the autopsy and investigative reports and determine if they need to test the remains further, Judge Orlando Hudson ruled last week. On Friday, he ordered that the remains be released to Jadon's and McKoy's families.

Prosecutors asked Hudson to rule on the release of the remains after he dismissed a murder charge in a separate case because remains had been cremated.

Authorities have said that Moses led a religious group of women and children who called him “Lord” and feared him. The group lived in a home at 2109 Pear Tree Lane in Durham, and searches of the home early this year turned up evidence of blood, shell casings, projectiles and signs of cleaning.

An informant told police that Moses killed Jadon last fall because he thought the child was gay and ordered that McKoy be killed after he learned she couldn't have children and wanted to leave the group.

Jadon's mother, Vania Rae Sisk, 25, and two other women who lived with Moses, Lavada Quinzetta Harris, 40, and Larhonda Renee Smith, 27, have been charged with murder in McKoy's death and as accessories in the boy's death.

Moses' mother, Sheilda Harris, and siblings P. Leonard Moses and Sheila Moses are charged as accessories in McKoy's death.