Local News

Woman found in SUV was mother, worker, aspiring baker

Friends and family mourned the loss of "all-around, wonderful person," an inspiring single mother who was murdered Sunday.

Posted Updated

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — Friends and family mourned the loss of an "all-around, wonderful person," an inspiring single mother who was killed Sunday.

Jessica Morgan-Lee, 35, of the 5600 block of Pepperbush Drive, was found dead in her SUV Monday. She was 17 miles from home.

Morgan-Lee had dreams of opening a bakery, friends said. After being laid off from a job in 2007, she enrolled in the culinary arts program at Fayetteville Technical Community College.

“Her work as a culinary student was just really superb,” said teacher Richard Kugelmann.

To support her three children, she worked nights at the Eaton Corp. plant on Doc Bennett Road in Fayetteville.

Kugelmann recalled her as an ambitious, selfless student.

“She's just one of those rare people that just keep digging ahead, you know. She had all the obstacles of having to work the second- or third- shift job, taking a full load, trying to raise three children."

Her loss was devastating, Kugelmann said. Morgan-Lee’s family declined an interview and did not want to make any comment about the investigation into her death.

Kugelmann said Morgan-Lee was her typical, chipper self in class on Thursday.

“She was just always upbeat, very happy," he said.

"She had a big heart. She participated in a lot of stuff we do around here for community events."

Instead of the road to her new life, Morgan-Lee was found dead alongside a road in Stedman.

Residents said Morgan-Lee’s SUV was parked along Shelton Beard Road for at least a couple of days before a concerned neighbor called the sheriff's office Sunday night.

Detectives said she was murdered, but they did not offer any more details about how she died, who might have done it or why.

Morgan-Lee’s body was sent to the State Medical Examiners Office in Chapel Hill for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.


Copyright 2024 by Capitol Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.