Local News

Leggett mayor, wife found dead at home; suspects in custody

The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office is investigating after two people were found dead Thursday night.

Posted Updated

Ken Smith
, WRAL anchor/reporter, & Janine Bowen, WRAL.com editor
LEGGETT, N.C. — The Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office is investigating after two people were found dead Thursday night.

Authorities said deputies were called to a home at 7218 N.C. Highway 33 in Leggett to check on the welfare of someone who was believed to be missing and found two people dead on the property.

Deputies said the victims’ identities were being withheld at the request of family members, but Leggett Town Commissioner Teresa Summerlin identified the deceased as Leggett Mayor Gary Skelton and his wife, Jackie Dawn Skelton.

WRAL News learned that the request for a welfare check came from Jackie Skelton's coworkers at Vidant Oncology when she failed to show up for her job as a nurse Thursday.

Authorities said suspects are in custody and authorities do not believe there is an ongoing danger to the public.

Deputies did not release a cause of death for the victims, but WRAL News learned the couple was attacked in their home Wednesday night.

"The terror that they had to have felt, going through what they were going through, it's unimaginable," Summerlin said. "It is unimaginable what they came home to last night, that's what sickens me to my core, how they must have felt. It sickens me and they were the epitome of good people, they were awesomely good people."

Summerlin said she and Gary Skelton were elected around the same time and both were in their second term in office. She said Gary Skelton survived a near-fatal crash several years ago and was dedicated to the town.

The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office said a press conference will be held Friday morning to provide more details in the case.


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