Detectives said just after 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, a 911 caller reported that an 8-year-old girl came up to construction workers to get help for her mother, who she said was hurt in a nearby apartment building.
"A little girl came out in the street, out in the parking lot here saying my mom has blood all over her, or what looked like blood, whatever and she was not responsive," said the caller.
When police and emergency workers got there, they found 30-year-old Melissa Dawn Huggins-Jones deceased.
Police said no suspects were in custody and the investigation was ongoing. They also said detectives have not determined whether or not the crime was a random act.
According to a search warrant obtained by ABC11 Wednesday, detectives have asked a judge for permission to look at Huggins-Jones' Facebook account, which they said they were told by family members she deleted on May 11.
Friends told the ABC station in Chattanooga, Tenn., that Huggins-Jones had just moved to Raleigh about two weeks ago from Tennessee. They also said she had a 12-year-old son in addition to her daughter. She was divorced and sharing custody of her children.
However, the friends said her son could not transfer this far into the school year so he remained in Tennessee with his father.
While police investigate the murder, friends and co-workers back in Tennessee are overcome with emotion.
They've set up a memorial Facebook page in her honor.
"I was just shocked. I couldn't believe it," said Chastity King. "I didn't want to believe it. I really just thought that there was some mistake."
Huggins-Jones worked at the First Tennessee Bank in Cleveland, Tenn., for several years.
Desha Maples got a text from Huggins-Jones around 11:30 p.m. Monday.
"She had a very hard Mother's Day because she was in Raleigh and her son was here," said Maples. "I told her to keep her chin up and that God had given her a new path."
"Melissa loved her children. She was an amazing mother," said King. "She loved those children more than anything in the world."
"It just didn't seem real," said Maples. "Because she always told me she would never leave her babies. Never. Never. Never."
Anyone with information that might assist detectives is asked to either call Raleigh CrimeStoppers at (919) 834-HELP or to go to the CrimeStoppers website at www.raleighcrimestoppers.org for instructions on how to report a tip online or by text message.
CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for anonymous tips that help solve cases.