Local News

Moreland Mourned As Police Continue Investigation

Posted September 3, 2006 6:24 a.m. EDT
Updated December 31, 2006 10:29 a.m. EST

— Amid all the faces that pack Mount Peace Baptist Church every Sunday morning, greeter Helen Best would always look for the smile.

"There are some of those people you always want to come in, and you know it is going to be a good day," Best said. "And Cynthia was one of those people."

But Cynthia Moreland will never walk through the church doors for the 8 a.m. service again. Raleigh police said she was abducted from a downtown parking garage. Her body was found on Friday in a rural area of Harnett County, about three miles from Coats.

Although there was only a brief mention of Moreland during Sunday's church service, sorrow filled the sanctuary as members and visitors remembered Moreland, 48, and her family.

"I'm thankful she was a Christian and that she believes in God," said church member Evelyn Hill. "And whatever she was going through that God was with her."

Near Coats, a dozen flowers now sit along Canes Mill Road just outside the abandoned building where a couple discovered Moreland's body, ending the 10-day mystery of her whereabouts.

A note accompanies the flowers, and reads in part: "Though we never had the pleasure of meeting Mrs. Moreland, my teenagers and myself looked for her every day after school until we were just exhausted. We are just glad that she was found, but we are sad that it ended as it did."

But the mystery is not over. With the discovery of Moreland's body, investigators are trying to answer even more questions: How did Moreland's body get there? How did she die? And ultimately, who is responsible?

So far, the only person arrested in connection with Moreland's disappearance is Antonio Chance. Charged with kidnapping and obtaining property by false pretenses, he remained in the Wake County Jail Sunday evening under a $1 million bond. At this time, investigators have not filed any additional charges.

Police said the 29-year-old from Garner was alone when he kidnapped Moreland from the parking garage beneath Progress Energy on the morning of Aug. 22. That was about 6:45 a.m.

By about 10:30 a.m., detectives said, Chance appears on a surveillance video using Moreland's credit card to buy a toothbrush and other toiletry items at a Dollar General Store in Garner.

And at about noon, police said, Chance dropped off Moreland's 1998 Toyota Camry on Malta Avenue in southeast Raleigh.

Anyone with information about the investigation is urged to contact the Raleigh Police Department at 919-890-3555.

For 10 days, Moreland's family, friends, coworkers and church held out hope, made fliers, offered a monetary reward for information related to the case, held prayer vigils and asked the community for help -- all in hope that their loved one would return home alive.

But now, church members pray for the Moreland family -- for strength and for healing.

"Our faith says absent from the body is present with the Lord," said Mount Peace Pastor J. Vincent Terry. "(Cynthia's) better off than we are now."

Church members believe that in their hearts. And in their minds, they see the smile they will never forget.