Local News

Remains found in Robeson could be missing Fayetteville woman

Posted August 9, 2011 1:21 p.m. EDT
Updated August 10, 2011 12:43 p.m. EDT

— Human remains found in Robeson County Tuesday morning could be those of a Fayetteville woman who has been missing since late June, authorities said.

Robeson County Sheriff Kenneth Sealey said the remains were found at about 10 a.m. off Britt Road, east of Saint Pauls. He declined to say who found the remains.

Homicide detectives with the Fayetteville Police Department were at the scene to determine whether the disappearance of Erica Cherie Gainey had become a homicide case.

Gainey, 24, was last seen on June 28 leaving her home in a white 2003 Hyundai Elantra with an acquaintance. Police have identified him as Terry Dale Robinson, 44.

Police said that, about seven hours after Gainey was last seen, Robinson was spotted at a Family Dollar store in the Sampson County town of Harrells – 40 miles away – buying bleach and moth balls. He was driving Gainey's Elantra, which has a Nebraska tag, police said.

Gainey has known Robinson for several years, according to her mother, Dawn Kime. He used to be Gainey's landlord and routinely pays her bills, Kime said, but her daughter never wanted a relationship.

Robinson was arrested on a domestic violence charge on June 26, police records show, and Kime said Gainey picked him up the following day when he bonded out of jail.

Robinson told WRAL News last month that his "heart is heavy" over Gainey's disappearance.

“This is all overwhelming for me. It’s taking its toll the way everybody has been coming to me,” he said in a July 13 telephone interview, declining to comment further without his attorney. "I just hope and pray this has a positive result."

State Department of Correction records show that Robinson was convicted in 1989 for assaulting his estranged wife and served six years in prison. She spent more than two years in a coma before dying, and state law at the time precluded him from being charged with murder since her death occurred so long after the assault.