Reward climbs in series of murders

September 29, 2009 10:54:26 AM PDT
Local officials have doubled the reward for information in the deaths of six women and the disappearance of three more.The City of Rocky Mount and the Edgecombe County Sheriff’s Office will match the $10,000 offer by the Kefalas-Pinto Foundation for a total of $20,000.

Taraha Shenice Nicholson, 28, Ernestine Battle, 50, Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, 35, Melody Wiggins, 29, and Jarneice Hargrove, 31, were all found murdered between 2005 and early this year.

Click here for pictures of the victims

Their bodies were all dumped in wooded areas near Rocky Mount.

The body of the first woman - Wiggins - was found in May 2005 on Noble Mill Pond Road. She'd been beaten and stabbed.

Thorpe was found in August 2007. Her head and an arm had been cut off.

In February, skeletal remains that have yet to be identified were found, and then Battle was found in March, 2008 in some woods. The medical examiner said it was not possible to determine a cause of death.

Nicholson was found in March, and Hargrove was found in June by a farmer.

Three other women are missing.

Yolanda Lancaster, 37; Joyce Renee Durham, 46; and Christine Marie Boone, 43 have not been heard from by their families for months.

The victims all had similar backgrounds. All were linked to drug abuse and possible prostitution.

Antwan Maurice Pittman, 31, is accused of killing Nicholson. He was indicted in her murder Tuesday. But, investigators have refused to say if he's a suspect in the other deaths.

Anyone with information on the murders should contact Twin County Crimestoppers at (252) 977-1111.

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