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Harnett Authorities Arrest Neighbor, Search for Second Suspect in Weekend Murder Case

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LILLINGTON — The investigation continues into the murder of a little girl and her mother in Harnett County. Now, deputies say there could be another person charged in connection with the case.

Authorities are holding a 24-year-old man in the Harnett County jail in connection with theweekend murders.

Quincey Marquies Amerson, who lived in the same subdivision as Sharita Rivera and her mother, Patrice, has been charged with first-degree murder in the girl's death. Detectives also say he is the prime suspect in the murder of her mother.

Amerson did not have much to say as he was led into court Monday, but he talked to investigators earlier, and they say he failed a voice-stress test.

Investigators are confident that Amerson is responsible for the death of Sharita Rivera. However, they took clothing from his house and are awaiting test results before filing additional charges concerning Patrice Rivera's death.

"A lot of us didn't think he was up to any good," says neighbor Ellen Stowers. "But, you couldn't really prove it."

Neighbors were not surprised by Amerson's arrest. They say they had seen him fight with Patrice Rivera last weekend. His home is just behind the Riveras' house. Neighbors say they recently saw her try to kick him off her property in Brafford Estates, which is near the town of Cameron.

"I've seen him in her yard, she's run him off," Stowers said. "I've seen her come over here and fight with him. I really don't think anyone is really surprised out here."

Autopsy results show that Patrice Rivera was stabbed several times and her neck slashed. Her daughter's death was just as brutal. Sharita had massive injuries to her body consistent with being run over several times with a car.

Investigators say they found evidence of the girl's murder in the front wheel wells of the car that Amerson was driving.

Members of the suspect's family went to court looking for answers. They were shocked that their loved one could be accused of this horrible crime.

"Justice will prevail," one family member said. "If it would happen to somebody in my family, my child, I would feel grief and everything too, but I got to lend my support to my own family right now."

Eric Rountree went to court out of love for the two victims. He went to church with the Riveras.

"The only thing we can do is just continue to pray for the Rivera family, and may God's will be done," he said.

Detectives interviewed at least one other person Monday night, and officials say there could be another arrest in connection with the crimes, but so far, they have not identified any other suspects.

Harnett County SheriffLarry Knott says they are awaiting lab results before they can formally tie Amerson with the death of Patrice Rivera.

Amerson does have a criminal record, and is recently on probation for being charged with fleeing an officer.