Local News

Police conduct checkpoint in Taft murder investigation

Posted March 19, 2010 4:41 p.m. EDT
Updated March 20, 2010 6:32 a.m. EDT

— Raleigh police conducted an informational checkpoint Friday night near the home where state Board of Education member Kathy Taft was attacked two weeks ago.

From 11 p.m. Friday until 2 a.m. Saturday, officers distributed 1,000 fliers to motorists at Oberlin Road and Cartier Drive. The fliers contain of a photo of Taft and ask for any information about suspicious activity in the area.

Taft, 62, died March 9 at WakeMed, three days after being brought to the hospital for severe head trauma.

Several sources told WRAL News that Taft's sister called 911 the morning of March 6 from a home at 2710 Cartier Drive, indicating that she thought Taft was experiencing complications from a minor surgical procedure she underwent a day earlier.

Police were called after a surgeon examined Taft and realized she had been assaulted, sources said. Surgical bandages on her face likely concealed the wounds, they said.

Chief Harry Dolan said the assault occurred "some hours before" investigators were called, but the time of the crime hadn't been narrowed down from late March 5 to early March 6.

Police haven't determined if the assault was a random act of violence.

Taft was staying at the home of John Geil while recovering from the procedure, according to friends. Geil was in Florida when the attack occurred and has since returned. The pair had dated in the past and were still friends, according to relatives.

“I think everybody wants to see it (the investigation) resolved,” said Kevin Kerata, who lives around the corner from Cartier Drive.

Kerata said he wants people to know the area is still a safe place to live.

“This is something that can happen anywhere. We still love this neighborhood. We love our neighbors. We go for walks. It’s a great place to live,” he said.

Taft's family has offered a $25,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Anyone with information that might help police is asked to call Raleigh Crime Stoppers at 919-834-HELP.