Local News

Police Label Clayton Woman's Death A Homicide

Posted April 20, 2006 6:20 a.m. EDT

— Police investigators say they are now calling the death of a Clayton woman a murder and that they are seeking "persons of interests" in the case.

Clayton police were dispatched a house on

Grovewood Drive

around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday after the victim's mother found her daughter's body inside.

Investigators said the victim, Rhonda Barnes, 38, was found in the kitchen near the back door.

Rosa Barnes, the victim's mother, said she became worried when she could not reach her daughter for two days.

"After I got to work, I had this feeling I couldn't shake. I kept calling and still couldn't get her," Rosa Barnes said.

Detectives spent Wednesday night and Thursday collecting evidence from the home, and also took down part of a fence as evidence. They also had to don chemical suits before entering the residence because of an unknown chemical that they described as being similar to battery acid.

Authorities have not said whether the same chemical was found on Barnes, but WRAL has learned that she had sustained burns to her body.

"We want to go slow and use time to our advantage," said Clayton police Lt. Robert Bridges about the investigation.

Authorities also said the house was vandalized last week, but they do not know yet if that was related to Barnes' death.

"We have had some communication with the victim of this crime before, and we have conducted an investigation a couple of years ago with her," Bridges said.

Police officers also found Barnes' black Ford F-150 pickup truck abandoned outside a church near the Clayton city limits.

Barnes, who had three children, worked at Talecris Biotherapeutics in Clayton.