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Authorities: Fremont Mother Fought With Killer

The woman's 7-year-old daughter returned from school to find her dead at home. A 3-year-old boy was unharmed inside the house.

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FREMONT, N.C. — A Wayne County woman who was slain in her home on Monday might have fought with her killer, authorities said Friday.

Silvia Morales Benitez, 28, was found shot to death in her home at 1273 Black Creek Road in Fremont on Monday afternoon when her 7-year-old daughter came home from school, authorities said. The woman's 3-year-old son was in the house with her when she was killed but was unharmed, authorities said.

"We know it was cold-blooded, callous, and it's a heinous crime, especially with the young child there," Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said.

Morales' husband was working on a farm across the road from the family's home at the time of her death, authorities said.

An autopsy determined that Morales was killed by a gunshot to the head.

Nothing appears to be missing from the home, but investigators said there were signs of a struggle. That means her killer could have marks from Morales fighting back, and Winders asked anyone who has noticed suspicious injuries on someone in recent days to call his investigators.

Morales' funeral is scheduled for Saturday afternoon in Wilson, and her family is pleading for help to solve her slaying.

They called her a loving mother and wife, a hard worker, and an active church member and said they don't know why anyone would have hurt her.

Deputies have canvassed the neighborhood with fliers and have interviewed neighbors, but they have developed few leads. The Wayne County Sheriff's Office has offered a $3,000 reward from information leading to an arrest.


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