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Warrant links murder suspect to deaths of Rocky Mount women

A man already charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Rocky Mount woman is also believed to be involved in the deaths of four other women with similar profiles, according to a search warrant obtained by WRAL News on Monday.

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — A man already charged with first-degree murder in the death of a Rocky Mount woman is also believed to be involved in the deaths of four other women with similar profiles, according to a search warrant filed by the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation obtained by WRAL News on Monday.

Authorities searched Antwan Maurice Pittman's former residence, 98 Nasturtium Lane in Scotland Neck, on Friday, after Halifax County deputies found the remains of Christine Marie Boone were in a wooded area behind the home on March 5.

Halifax County Sheriff Jeff Frazier said Monday that Pittman is their main person of interest in Boone’s death.

According to the search warrant, authorities believe Boone might have been killed at the home. DNA testing was done at the home, according to the Halifax County Sheriff's Office.

Pittman was charged with first-degree murder in Taraha Shenice Nicholson's death. Her remains were found on March 7, 2009, on Marriott Road in Edgecombe County, two weeks after the 29-year-old was reported missing. A sexual assault kit performed on Nicholson's body found Pittman's DNA , according to the search warrant.

Probable cause exists to believe Pittman was also involved in the deaths of Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, Ernestine Battle, Jarniece Latonya Hargrove and Boone, according to the search warrant.

Records show Pittman also once lived near a wooded area off Seven Bridges Road, near Rocky Mount, where remains of two of the women were found.

A North Carolina Highway Patrol trooper also arrested Pittman for driving while impaired and driving with a revoked license after finding him along Seven Bridges Road on April 25, 2009 – that same day family members last reported seeing Hargrove, according to the warrant.

Trooper J.J. Scott, responding to a report of an accident in a ditch along Seven Bridges Road, found Pittman asleep in the driver’s seat of a vehicle.

Hargrove's remains were found on June 29, 2009, about 200 yards from where the trooper said Pittman was parked.

Pittman had dirt on his boots and his pants were unzipped, according to the warrant. He was arrested and charged with driving while impaired, according to the Highway Patrol.

“I believe it is connected,” Hargrove's mother, Patsy Hargrove, said Monday evening after hearing of Pittman's whereabouts the day her daughter was last seen. "If he did this, not only to my daughter, but those other young ladies, I hope he rots in hell.”

Thorpe's remains were found Aug. 17, 2007, in the same area along a Seven Bridges Road, between Battleboro and Whitakers in Edgecombe County. She had been reported missing in May 2007.

Battle's remains were found in the same area on March 14, 2008. She had been missing since February  2008.

Pittman grew up and worked on a farm near the vicinity of where those three bodies were found in Edgecombe County, according to the search warrant.

Pittman was charged with loitering for prostitution in Rocky Mount in July 2007.

In a four year period, seven women have been found dead in a 10-mile radius of Rocky Mount. Each was black, had a history of drug use, prostitution or both, and family members and friends said many knew each other.

The body of Melody LaShae Wiggins, 29, was found near Nobles Mill Pond Road, south of U.S. Highway 64 in Edgecombe County, on May 30, 2005. Wiggins was identified after her boyfriend reported her missing on June 2, 2005.

A Rocky Mount clean-up crew found the remains of Elizabeth Jane Smallwood, 33, along Melton Drive on Feb. 13, 2009.

Two other women, who also fit the profile, have been reported missing.

Yolanda Renee Lancaster, 37, was last seen at her home at 507 Grand Ave. on Feb. 5, 2009. Her boyfriend said she knew three of the dead women, Hargrove, Wiggins and Thorpe.

Joyce Renee Durham was last seen in June 2007 at 1505 Harper Street. She would be 48 years old.



Mike Charbonneau, Reporter
Kathy Hanrahan, Web Editor

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