Local News

Edgecombe remains those of missing Rocky Mount woman

Posted January 14, 2011 7:08 p.m. EST
Updated January 17, 2011 6:49 p.m. EST

— Remains found this week in rural Edgecombe County were identified Friday as those of a Rocky Mount woman who is one of 10 at the center of an investigation into a suspected serial killer.

Sheriff James Knight said late Friday that the remains were those of Yolanda Renee Lancaster, 37, who has been missing since February 2009.

Hunters found the body Monday afternoon off a path in some woods off Battleboro-Leggett Road near the Battleboro community and called authorities.

Over the past five years, eight other women with similar backgrounds have turned up dead – many along Seven Bridges Road in the same vicinity where Lancaster’s body was found.

Family members couldn’t be reached for comment Friday evening, but Lancaster’s mother, Juray Tucker, has said that she kept hope but knew there was little likelihood that her daughter would be found alive.

“As long as it has been with no word from her, I have to be realistic that there’s a possibility that it can go another way,” Tucker said in August. “I’m trying to prepare myself for that. I know you can’t, but I‘ve got to be real. I've got to be real.” (Watch more of Tucker's August interview about her daughter.)

Authorities have charged Antwan Maurice Pittman in one of the nine deaths but have identified him as a suspect or person of interest in many of the cases. He was expected to go to trial in May, but the case has been continued indefinitely.

The investigation attracted the attention of Gov. Bev Perdue last April when she ordered the North Carolina National Guard to help search for Lancaster and another woman still missing – Joyce Renee Durham.

“I thought that was awesome,” Tucker said in August. “Even though they didn’t find anything – which was good and a little bit of relief – it was just awesome. My God, they brought out all these people to look for my baby.”