Local News

Remains found at Durham home believed to be missing woman

Posted June 8, 2011 4:43 p.m. EDT
Updated October 18, 2011 2:39 p.m. EDT

— Seven people face murder charges after Durham police found what they believe are the remains of a missing woman behind a home Wednesday, Police Chief Jose Lopez said.

Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, 28, has been missing since December. Investigators have been searching intently for weeks for evidence in her disappearance and that of Jadon Higganbothan, 5, who was last seen in October.

"This is a great development if, in fact, it is Ms. McKoy to solve this case," Lopez said. "Everything indicates that it's her."

Seven people were charged with murder in McKoy's death: Peter Lucas Moses, 27, Lavada Quinzetta Harris, 40, Larhonda Renee Smith, 27, Sheilda Evelyn Harris, 56, Sheila Falisha Moses, 20, Pete Leonard Moses, 21, all of 2146 Charles St., and Vania Rae Sisk, 25, of 715 Bernice St.

All seven suspects were in custody by early Thursday and were being held in the Durham County jail without bond.

Sisk, the mother of missing Jadon, is believed to have been dating Peter Lucas Moses. He, Pete Leonard and Sheila Moses are all siblings. Sheilda Harris is the mother of Peter Lucas Moses.

Police said Lavada Harris and Smith lived with the group at a home on Pear Tree Lane in Durham, where a source told police that McKoy and Jadon were killed.

Lopez said it's too early to say whether Jadon's remains also were buried at the Ashe Street house, noting investigators and forensics technicians would "be here for quite a while."

"There are a lot of things we are verifying," he said.

McKoy's mother, Yvonne McKoy, and Jadon's father, Jamiel Higganbothan, declined to comment Wednesday evening.

Wesley King, who owns the home at 2622 Ashe St., said someone was preparing the property for rental, and workers digging in the backyard to check on a possible sewage problem found the remains.

King said Sheilda Harris, the mother of Peter Lucas Moses, lived in the home for about a year and moved out in February. The house has been vacant since then, he said.

Regina Olivieri, who has a daughter with Sheilda Harris' husband, said she believes there was abuse going on in the home.

"I was worried for my daughter's life while she was there," Olivieri said.

Olivieri was fighting for custody of her daughter and had reported the alleged abuse to social services, she said. The girl is currently in foster care.

"I knew eventually something like this was going to happen," she said. "I warned them, I told them."

Peter Lucas Moses lived with several women at 2109 Pear Tree Lane in Durham. A confidential informant told police in February that both Jadon and McKoy were killed in the house and that their bodies were disposed of.

Police have searched the house repeatedly, and a search warrant states that they found a bullet, shell casing and evidence of human blood and "overt cleaning" inside.

A second search warrant stated that Peter Lucas Moses and Sisk were "directly involved" in the deaths of a woman and child.

Peter Lucas Moses, 27, was arrested in April on charges that he kidnapped a 16-year-old girl, hit her several times, pointed a semi-automatic gun at her and threatened to kill her.