Police: Missing woman not missing

July 22, 2009 4:28:27 AM PDT
A woman who was considered missing in the Rocky Mount area of eastern North Carolina has been found.Police said a friend of Mary Michelle Williams, 40, reported her missing on Tuesday when she had not come to pick up her two children from a babysitter. She was supposed to get them on Sunday.

Authorities located Williams around 8 p.m. in Rocky Mount, after a family member told Eyewitness News that Wilson was spotted in the Enfield area.

Williams was not hurt and told police she was not missing. She said she did not want her family to know where she was.

Police said they were investigating the case for possible child neglect charges in relation to the welfare of her 11 and 12-year-old children. Authorities said they would be notifying Social Services in the case.

The swift response of law enforcement to the missing person's report showed how seriously they're taking the deaths of six women whose bodies have been steadily turning up in Edgecombe County - east of Raleigh - over the past four years. At least three other women are missing.

The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office has refused to speculate if the deaths are the work of a serial killer, but all of the victims were discovered within a two-mile vicinity of Seven Bridges and Old Battleboro roads outside Rocky Mount.

Ironically, the same day Williams disappeared, a community group and families of the victims were holding a candlelight vigil for the dead. The vigil's organizers said they were upset about the lack of attention the murders had gotten.

According to authorities, the dead are Jarniece Hargrove, 31; Taraha Nicholson, 28; Ernestine Battle, 50; Jackie "Nikki" Thorpe; Melody Wiggins, 29; and one who has yet to be identified. At least three more women are missing.

Earlier this month, Edgecombe County Sheriff James Knight said a task force that includes the State Bureau of Investigation is looking into the string of deaths.

Anyone with information on the murders is asked to contact the Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office at (252) 641-7911.


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