Local News

Victim's mother talks about renewed probe into daughter's death

Posted July 1, 2009 11:15 p.m. EDT
Updated July 2, 2009 6:26 a.m. EDT

— As Edgecombe County authorities continue their investigation into the unsolved murders of five women over the past four years, the mother of one of the victims is coming forward.

The body of Melody Wiggins, 29, was found near Nobles Mill Pond Road, an area south of U.S. Highway 64.

Shelly Guillen, Wiggins' mother, said she had a feeling her daughter was dead after hearing about a body being found on TV.

“Something was drawing me back to the TV to look at what they were saying, and for some reason in my heart I just felt it was her,” Guillen said.

Wiggins died of blunt force trauma to the head, according to an autopsy report. She also suffered stab wounds and was partially clothed when her decomposed body was discovered on May 30, 2005.

Guillen says finding closure isn't just for her peace of mind, she is also thinking of her grandson, Joshua. Wiggins' son died last year when a tornado hit Wilson County.

“He would always question me, ‘Grandma, have they found who killed my momma yet?’ I would say, ‘No, they're working on it,’” Guillen said.

Sheriff James Knight said a task force is looking into whether the five cases are linked.

“There are some similarities,” Knight said. “We’re doing everything we can to protect the public and to find out who the perpetrators may be.”

Each of the bodies found was of a black woman who lived in Rocky Mount, and each was murdered, Knight said.

The latest find, skeletal remains that appear to be those of a black woman were found Monday evening in a wooded area off Seven Bridges Road.

Knight said his deputies are close to identifying the most recent victim.

Other cases being investigated

On Aug. 17, 2007, a man told Edgecombe deputies he found a body behind a house on Seven Bridges Road, between Battleboro and Whitakers.

Pathologists at Pitt Memorial Hospital identified the victim as Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, 35. Thorpe was reported missing from Rocky Mount on May 8, 2007, police said.

On March 14, 2008, the body of 50-year-old Earnestine Battle, of 619 Branch St. in Rocky Mount, was found in the same area, along Seven Bridges Road, between Battleboro and Whitakers. She had been reported missing more than a month earlier.

On March 7, 2009, people riding all-terrain vehicles on Marriott Road found a body that was later identified as Taraha Shenice Nicholson, 28, of 218 N. Raleigh St. in Rocky Mount.

The individual causes of death have not been released.