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Old Case Reopened After Wife Charged In Man's Slaying

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CLAYTON, N.C. — Duct tape, maps and other evidence have been seized from the home of a Johnston County woman charged with killing her husband and dumping his body in South Carolina.

Penny Dierickx, 54, of 104 Heart Wood Court in Clayton, is charged with murder in connection with the death of 63-year-old Larry Dierickx, whose body was found Monday behind a convenience store in Dillon, S.C.

Larry Dierickx's hands were tied and taped, and tape covered his mouth, authorities said. His body has been sent to the North Carolina State Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

A grocery card found near the body led investigators to his Clayton home.

After Penny Dierickx identified her husband's body, Johnston County deputies interviewed her and decided to search the couple's home and cars.

"Based on the interview we did with Ms. Dierickx and the information we received from her is why the search warrant was done on her residence," said Detective Chris Strickland of the Johnston County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators were looking for blood evidence and items used to clean body fluids, as well as rope and tape, according to a search warrant.

Authorities took a bag of trash, a computer, duct tape, two blankets, maps of South Carolina and floor and trunk mats from a car, the warrant said.

Cell phone records also showed Penny Dierickx made calls from South Carolina the night before her husband's body was found, investigators said.

Dierickx was arrested shortly after the search. She is being held in the Johnston County Jail without bond.

As part of the murder investigation, authorities have reopened an burglary case from last year involving the Dierickxes.

In August 2005, Penny Dierickx called 911 and claimed someone had broken into the couple's home, hit her husband over the head with a hammer while he was sleeping and stolen jewelry and cash. No arrest has been made in the case.

Friends of the couple said Larry Dierickx knew his life was in danger but refused to leave his wife.

"I heard he was complaining to the neighbor up the road here that he was getting a little worried (about his safety), and she tried to tell him, 'You've got to do something. Leave,'" neighbor Carl Schurr said. "And he said, 'But I love her.'"

Schurr left red flowers and a note on the Dierickxes' mailbox that read: "Mr. D you will be sorely missed."

"He was just such a nice guy, you know. Everybody liked Larry," he said. "I have not heard one bad thing against Larry. I haven't heard too many good things about her."


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