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Community Shocked Over Durham County Woman's Slaying

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ROUGEMONT, N.C. — Neighbors and friends of a Rougemont woman found dead in her home Monday morning were in shock and disbelief over what some say may be the small rural community's first homicide since the 1960s.

At about 6:30 a.m. Monday, the Durham County Sheriff's Office responded to a report at 411 Chambers Drive, where they found the body of 68-year-old Rosalee Crabtree.

While making his daily stop at his mother's home, the victim's son, Tony Crabtree, found his mother's body in the living room of her home.

Investigators would not say how long they though Crabtree had been dead before she was found.

While investigators said very little about the case, including how Crabtree may have died or how long she had been dead before she was found, neighbors said there had been plenty of speculation about what may have happened, including that she had been stabbed.

Just down the road from where Crabtree lived, people who did not know the victim were also keeping up with the investigation.

"I was shocked," said Rougemont resident MaryBeth Williams. "Things like that just don't happen around here."

As investigators examined the crime scene throughout the day Monday, friends and neighbors stopped by, sharing memories and giving support.

"There's a tremendous sadness, not only in the family, but in the church family, and I think, even throughout the community," said Crabtree's pastor, Chris Hilliard.

Described by Hilliard as a deeply spiritual woman who was always in a good mood, Crabtree had been very involved in her church, Gateway Baptist in Timberlake, which she helped found eight years ago.

"She was one of the sweetest ladies you'd ever meet," Hilliard said. "When she came through the church doors, my children would run up to her because she always had candy to give them."


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