Local News

Two dead in apparent Sampson County murder-suicide

Posted March 24, 2009 3:15 p.m. EDT
Updated March 24, 2009 3:53 p.m. EDT

— A Faison man apparently gunned down his estranged girlfriend before taking his own life Monday night, authorities said.

The woman's children and her mother escaped unharmed after fleeing through some nearby woods and flagging down drivers on Interstate 40 for help, authorities said.

The bodies of Fransico Montenegro, 52, and Marcela Rodriguez, 24, of Goldsboro, were found about a mile down a path off of McGowan Road near Turkey, authorities said. Both had been shot.

Rodriguez's mother, Ludvinia Reyes, 47, of Goldsboro, told authorities said she, her daughter and her two small grandchildren were riding in Montenegro's car when it broke down on McGowan Road. She said she decided to leave with the children when Montenegro and her daughter began arguing.

Montenegro pulled out a gun and fired at Reyes as she fled through the woods, she said.

Authorities said they believe Montenegro used the pretense of signing his car over to Rodriguez so he could drive the family to the rural area and kill them.

Rodriguez took out a domestic violence protection order last July in Duplin County against Montenegro. The order was to remain in effect until July.

“Ms. Reyes and her grandchildren were fortunate to survive. However, those kids lost their parents needlessly, and Ms. Reyes lost a daughter," Sampson County Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said in a statement. "It’s heartbreaking to think that this man was going to kill his family. It boggles my mind that anyone could do this to a stranger, much less to someone they are naturally supposed to love.”