Local News

Autopsy reveals more details about NCCU student's death

Posted May 23, 2008 10:04 a.m. EDT
Updated May 23, 2008 7:00 p.m. EDT

— Medical examiners found a condom while conducting an autopsy on the body of an NCCU student who was stabbed nearly 40 times and found dead along I-540 in Raleigh earlier this year.

The autopsy, which was released Friday, also said Latrese Matral Curtis had injuries to her hands, including two broken nails. Investigators at the crime scene placed brown paper bags over her hands to preserve any evidence.

Her jeans also were unbuttoned and the fly was unzipped, the report said.

  • Read the full autopsy. (Warning: Graphic content)

Motorists found Curtis' body near Louisburg Road about an hour before her husband, Darin Curtis, reported her missing on Jan. 30.

Robert Lee Adams Reaves, 43, of 19 Birchcrest Court in Durham, was charged with first-degree murder in her death.

The autopsy report also describes in more detail where Curtis was stabbed, including her head, neck, chest and stomach.

Toxicology results showed there was no evidence of alcohol in her system. The medical examiner listed the cause of death as “multiple sharp force injuries.”

The autopsy, which is part of the public record, provides significant detail into a crime that attracted a high level of interest when it happened. Many questions still surround Curtis' death.

Curtis, 21, an administration and management major at NCCU, was last seen leaving a class on Jan. 29. According to her husband in a 911 call, she called him about 10 p.m. that night to tell him she was on her way home.

According to search warrants police obtained, Latrese Curtis had been visiting Reaves' roommate, Steven L. Randolph, at his home on Birchcrest Court. But Reaves was not home at the time.

At 1:36 a.m. on Jan. 30, a North Carolina state trooper found Reaves' 2004 Chrysler Pacifica parked on the side of I-540 near the location where motorists spotted Curtis' body at about 7:30 a.m. There was no one in the vehicle, but according to the warrant, the trooper spotted a woman's sweater inside.

Reaves went to his church ministry after the slaying to wash the blood off his clothes and body, prosecutors said.

"Mr. Reaves may have been back to this location after this homicide to clean up and possibly destroy evidence that he may have been wearing during this incident," investigators said in a Feb. 2 search warrant for Cedar International Fellowship in Durham.

They seized two large metal trash dumpsters from the business complex, according to the warrants.

Another warrant showed that Curtis' cellular phone was used to call Randolph in the hours before her body was found.

Nothing in the warrants suggests a motive for the killing, however.

Reaves was a pastor for more than 20 years and faced criminal sexual charges in South Carolina and New York.

In Durham, Reaves pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of obtaining property by false pretenses in September 2005, according to court records. He was ordered to pay $500 in restitution and given community service and 12 months' probation.