Local News

Rocky Mount mother of three remembered

Posted April 9, 2010 6:52 p.m. EDT
Updated April 9, 2010 11:26 p.m. EDT

— The mother of a Rocky Mount mother of three, whose remains were found in Edgecombe County nearly two weeks ago, said Friday that she tried to find her daughter.

Rosa Thigpen’s daughter, Roberta Williams, 40, was last seen by a family member in Rocky Mount in spring 2008, authorities said. She was not officially reported missing, but concerns surfaced from persons who had not seen her in some time, authorities said.

Her remains were found March 28 off of Seven Bridges Road, between Battleboro and Whitakers. The cause of her death was not released.

On Friday, family and friends gathered at Morgan Funeral Home in Rocky Mount to honor her memory.

Juray Tucker, whose daughter Yolanda Lancaster has been missing for more than a year, attended the service.

“I’m taking it one day at a time,” she said.

Tucker is a member of MOMS (Murdered or Missing Sisters), a group of family members of several missing and murdered women from the area.

“If they need anything, just come to us, anything, just to talk, or for support, we’re here,” Tucker said.

Williams, who was found guilty of prostitution in 2006, fits a similar profile of several other women from Rocky Mount whose bodies were discovered within the past four years.

Each was black, had a history of drugs or prostitution and had disappeared. Family members and friends have said that some of the women knew each other.

"It's clear to me that we are dealing with a suspected serial killer," Rocky Mount police Chief John Manley said last week.

“We continue to look for the persons who may be responsible for her death. We want to show the family that we do care," Manley said Friday.

Manley said last week that Antwan Maurice Pittman – charged in September in the death of 29-year-old Taraha Nicholson – is a "very strong person of interest" in Williams' death.

The remains of Nicholson, Jarniece Hargrove Taraha Nicholson, 29, Jackie Thorpe, 35, Ernestine Battle, 50, and Melody Wiggins, 29 were found within a 10-mile radius of one another in Edgecombe County.

The remains of Christine Marie Boone, 43, were found March 5. They were located in a wooded area behind a trailer where Pittman lived in Halifax County in 2006.

A search warrant returned earlier this month indicates that investigators are also looking at Pittman in the deaths of at least four of those women.

Records show Pittman once lived near a wooded area off Seven Bridges Road.

A special task force of local, state and federal authorities has been investigating the deaths as well as the disappearances of two other Rocky Mount women.

Anyone with information about the dead or missing women is asked to call the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office at 252-641-7911 or Rocky Mount Crime Stoppers at 252-977-1111.