Local News

Bonds lowered for pair linked to missing Durham boy, woman

Posted April 13, 2011 11:21 a.m. EDT
Updated April 13, 2011 4:58 p.m. EDT

— A judge on Wednesday rejected prosecutors' requests for high bonds on a woman and her boyfriend, whom police have linked to the disappearances of her son and another woman.

Vania Rae Sisk, 25, and Peter Lucas Moses, 27, were arrested late Tuesday during a raid at 121-B Dunstan Ave. in Durham. Police had been searching for them since they failed to appear in court last month on various charges.

Investigators said in their recent application for a search warrant that they believe Sisk and Moses were "directly involved" in the deaths of Jadon Higganbothan, 5, and Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 28.

Jadon, who is Sisk's son, hasn't been seen since October, while McKoy has been missing since December.

No charges have been filed in the disappearances, but prosecutors on Wednesday asked for high bonds on Sisk and McKoy, saying they are flight risks and might be involved in other criminal matters for which they haven't yet been charged.

District Judge William Marsh lowered Sisk's bond from $5,000 to $2,000 and dropped Moses' bond to $53,000 after prosecutors requested a $100,000 bond.

In addition to their failure to appear charges, Sisk faces a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge, while Moses faces charges of second-degree kidnapping, assault by pointing a gun, assault on a female and communicating threats.

Arrest warrants state that Moses kidnapped a 16-year-old girl, hit her several times, pointed a semi-automatic gun at her and threatened to kill her.

Relatives of Sisk and Moses declined to comment after the court hearing.

Jadon's father, Jamiel Higganbothan, and McKoy's mother, Yvonne McKoy, both said they were relieved by the arrests but fear that Moses and Sisk will be released on bond. They also said they still want to know what happened to their children.

"I want revenge. I don't want to necessarily take the law into my own hands, but there are some moments where I wish I could," Higganbothan said.

He divorced Sisk several years ago and now lives in Georgia. He was visiting relatives in Winston-Salem on Wednesday.

Sisk was a good mother when they were married, Higganbothan said, but he has had trouble keeping in touch with his son since the divorce. He said he never imagined his son was in any danger with her, and he has a hard time believing the various developments in the case in recent weeks.

"It's like a twist to everything. I'm still waiting to be pinched so I can wake up. It's really crazy," he said.

Police have declined to comment on the case, but search warrants indicate that investigators found a bullet, shell casing and evidence of human blood and "overt cleaning" inside the house at 2109 Pear Tree Lane.

Investigators allege that Sisk and her son, Moses and McKoy lived in the house with members of the Black Hebrews, a religious sect that believes it descends directly from the ancient tribes of Israel.

A confidential informant told Durham police in February that both Jadon and McKoy were killed in the Pear Tree Lane house and that their bodies were disposed of.

Higganbothan said is haunted by the thought of what Jadon might have experienced.

"It still just plays over and over, and I'm having a hard time with that," he said.

Police have searched the home several times in the past two months. On one occasion, they found Moses hiding inside a cabinet. He was served with outstanding warrants on charges of carrying a concealed weapon, discharging a firearm in city limits and writing a worthless check, but he was released after posting bond.

A boarded-up home at 2310 So Hi Drive and some nearby woods also were searched for evidence in the case. It was unclear what police were looking for or what they might have found.

Sisk, Moses and others moved to Colorado Springs early this year, and Durham police asked Colorado authorities to check on Jadon's whereabouts. Authorities put several other children in the Colorado Springs home into protective custody but couldn't find Jadon.

Sisk later returned to Durham and met with investigators in early March. She told them she left Jadon with an acquaintance on Feb. 20, but police said her statements were inconsistent.