Local News

Other Rocky Mount deaths remain unsolved

Posted April 26, 2010 7:09 p.m. EDT
Updated April 27, 2010 12:10 p.m. EDT

— Family members of two people found dead in Rocky Mount don't want their relatives' cases forgotten as a special task force of local, state and federal authorities investigate the deaths and disappearances of 10 other women.

Each of the 10 women were black, had a history of drugs or prostitution and most had been reported missing. Authorities have arrested a suspect in one of the deaths, and he is a suspect or person of interest in many of the other cases.

But the deaths of Denise Williams and Travis Harrison don't appear to be part of that investigation.

"It's been rough, because we just want to know what happened to her," said Williams' sister, Natasha Battle. Williams, a mother of two, was found in an Edgecombe County creek in 2003.

Battle says that unlike the other women, her sister was not a prostitute. Some have argued though that Williams' death should be connected to the others.

Edgecombe Sheriff James Knight reportedly told the Rocky Mount Telegram that she has been all along part of the investigation, but he has since declined to comment.

"I don't think she was with them, because my sister was not out there on the streets ort anything like that," Battle said.

Rocky Mount Police Chief John Manley has said that evidence suggests that the death of Travis Harrison isn't connected to the larger investigation either.

Harrison was a known cross-dresser and prostitute whose remains were found in Rocky Mount in 2006, about a mile away from where someone found the remains of Elizabeth Smallwood – who is among the 10 women whose deaths are being investigated.

Investigators say they are continuing to investigate all unsolved cases – whether they appear to be tied to the larger case or not.