Local News

Missing boy's remains believed found at Durham home

Posted June 9, 2011 3:34 p.m. EDT
Updated October 18, 2011 2:39 p.m. EDT

— One day after the remains of a missing woman were found buried behind a Durham home, remains believed to be those of a missing 5-year-old boy were found at the home Thursday.

Jadon Higganbothan was last seen in October. An informant told Durham police in February that the boy was killed inside a home at 2109 Pear Tree Lane, and his body was stuffed into a suitcase and disposed of.

Police charged Peter Lucas Moses, 27, with murder in Jadon's death. He also is charged with murder in the death of Antoinetta Yvonne McKoy, whose remains were found at 2622 Ashe St. on Wednesday.

Investigators and forensics technicians have been combing through the Ashe Street house and yard since Wednesday afternoon, when a plumbing crew digging in the backyard uncovered human remains.

Police Chief Jose Lopez said "everything indicates" the initial set of remains were those of McKoy, 28, who has been missing since December. Sources told WRAL News that the body has been positively identified as McKoy's and that it had been buried for more than five months.

The police informant said McKoy also was killed inside the Pear Tree Lane home and her body disposed of.

A medical examiner said Thursday that a second set of remains "consistent with those of a small child" were found at the home, police said.

"I thank God for the detectives, and all these detectives have given 100 percent to give us closure," said McKoy's mother, Yvonne McKoy, who lives in Washington, D.C.

Jamiel Higganbothan, Jadon's father, said he had mixed emotions about the discoveries.

"They found the remains of the two people they were looking for, but then I am happy because at least I don't have to worry about where they put my son's body," said Higganbothan, who lives in Georgia.

Six other people have been charged with murder in McKoy's death: 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.

They all made their initial court appearance Thursday morning and were ordered held without bond in the Durham County jail. Each was appointed a public defender, and their next court appearances will be June 30.

Sheilda Harris rented the Ashe Street home for about a year until February, leaving it vacant since then.

Neighbors said several adults and a small child lived in the house, while four teens – two boys and two girls – stayed in a shed behind the house.

Sisk is Jadon's mother and is believed to have been dating Peter Lucas Moses. He, Leonard and Sheila Moses are siblings, and Sheilda Harris is Peter Moses' mother.

Police said Lavada Harris and Smith lived with the group at the Pear Tree Lane home at one point. Police repeatedly searched the house, 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.

Residents on Ashe Street detailed what they thought was bizarre behavior by the group. They repeatedly checked the mailbox even after moving out, for example, and they refused an invitation to a Thanksgiving dinner by noting that they didn't celebrate the holiday.

A court document has linked members of the group with the Black Hebrews, a religious sect that believes it descends directly from the ancient tribes of Israel.

Members of the Moses family have denied any link to the sect.

"The detective made up the group and stuff like that. I mean, people study different religions and stuff like that," said a man who identified himself only as "Jay" following Sheilda Harris' court appearance.

"Jay" said he is Harris' son and said that police also questioned him in the case. He maintained that his mother is innocent and said that police were trying to charge as many people as possible in the case.

"The simple fact of where they found the body, so that's basically why they are charging my mom," he said. "The rest of that other stuff, I don't even (relate to) that side of the family."

Lavada Harris' father also denied any knowledge of the Black Hebrew. He described his daughter as a victim of Peter Lucas Moses.

"I didn't like him. I've been trying to talk my daughter into cutting ties with him for years now, and she wouldn't listen to any family members," Willie Harris said. "Anytime I try to talk to her, it's like talking to the wall, you know. I couldn't get any response from her."

Peter Moses has been in jail since an April arrest 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.