Skeletal remains found in Edgecombe County

BATTLEBORO, N.C. — Skeletal remains were found Saturday off Seven Bridges Road, between Battleboro and Whitakers in Edgecombe County. This is same rural area where the remains of several Rocky Mount women were found dead over the past four years.

Around 1:23 p.m., four-wheeler riders found the skeletal remains approximately 20 yards inside the woods, a news release from the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s office states.

The bodies of Taraha Nicholson, 29, Jarneice Hargrove, 31, Jackie Thorpe, 35, Ernestine Battle, 50, and Melody Wiggins, 29, were all found in fields within a 10-mile radius of one another in Edgecombe County. The body of Christine Boone, 43, was found this month about 20 miles away in Scotland Neck.

Each woman was black, reported missing and had a history of drug use or prostitution. Family members and friends have said that many knew each other.

A special task force of local, state and federal authorities has been investigating the deaths, as well as the disappearances of two other Edgecombe County women, Yolanda Lancaster and Joyce Durham.

Knight said the missing women’s families were notified Saturday about the human remains discovery.
“My nerves are just shot,” said Winston Kemp, Durham’s stepfather.

Durham has been missing since June 2007. Kemp said authorities told him that they don’t yet know the identification or the cause of death for the skeletal remains found Saturday.

“Is it her or is it not? I don’t know,” he said.

Lancaster has been missing since February 2009. Authorities said both missing women have similar profiles as the other Rocky Mount women and that they are considering a possible connection.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the slain Rocky Mount women is ongoing.

Authorities have charged Antwan Maurice Pittman, 31, with first-degree murder in Nicholson’s death. But they have been relatively quiet about whether he might be suspected in any of the other deaths.

Records show Pittman also once lived near a wooded area off Seven Bridges Road where remains of three of the slain 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.

Hargrove’s remains were found on June 29, 2009, about 200 yards from where the trooper said Pittman was parked.
Thorpe’s remains were found Aug. 17, 2007, in the same area along Seven Bridges Road. 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.

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


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