Local News

Police Identify Raleigh Woman Found in Warehouse

Posted December 27, 1996 12:00 a.m. EST

— Raleigh police have identified an African-American woman whose body was found in a warehouse as 35-year-old Debra Jean Elliott.

Police are searching for clues in the death of Elliott, whose nude body was found Thursday afternoon in a West Street warehouse on the western fringe of downtown. She was last seen late Monday or early Tuesday near her home at 221 S. Bloodworth St. Officers have not released a cause of death for Elliot, but hope to know this information soon, Major O.L. Hinton said.

Elliott worked in the kitchen of the McDonald's restaurant at the corner of Lake Boone Trail and Wycliff Road.

Investigators have not linked her death to five unsolved slaying of black women this year.

Police said previously that those slaying are not related, while acknowledging similarities in the cases. They characterized the five previous victims as women living marginal lives, abusing drugs and frequenting the downtown street scenes.

Unlike the previous cases, the woman found Thursday was inside a building. The other slain women had been found outdoors.

Police, who have been very tight-lipped about the string of slayings, apparently found at least two articles of clothing near the warehouse.

Police say the David Allen Co. has been using the building where the body was found. It had been a warehouse for the old Pine State dairy.

The woman was found by workers who were remodeling the building.

Slayings of black women still under investigation by Raleigh police are:

  • Jan. 7: Patricia Ash, found in the 1500 block of South Blount Street
  • Jan. 17: Dewanna Burt, found in the parking lot at 1905 Poole Road
  • June 13: Patricia Woods, found in Oakwood Cemetery
  • July 7: Dawn Grady, found near railroad tracks under the Morgan Street bridge on the western fringe of downtown
  • Aug. 22: an unidentified woman found on South McDowell Street at Martin Luther King Boulevard extension.