Sheriff: Remains ID'd as one of missing women


The Edgecombe County Sheriff's Office says a hunter tipped investigators to the discovery of human remains in the woods off Battleboro Leggett Road and Speights Chapel Road Monday afternoon. The man was looking for deer antlers when he found the body.

Lancaster is one of ten missing women whose disapperances are believed to be linked. So far, eight of the other women have been found dead - five in the same area. Authorities are still searching for 46-year-old Joyce Renee Durham.

Antwon Pittman, 31, is charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Taraha Nicholson. Her body was discovered in March 2009 near Marriot Farm Road a few miles north of Rocky Mount. The medical examiner said she'd most likely been strangled.

According to court records, Pittman is a suspect in at least five other women's deaths.

The remains of nine women have been found - many dumped in the same wooded area along Seven Bridges Road.

Other cases

In addition to Nicholson, Christine Boone, 43, was found near a mobile home in Scotland Neck, Halifax County in March.

March 31, Rocky Mount police said skeletal remains found March 27 were identified as 40-year-old Roberta Williams. People riding four wheelers off Seven Bridges Road found Williams about 20 yards inside a tree line.

Williams was last seen in the spring of 2008 by a family member in Rocky Mount. She was never reported missing because she was considered to be a homeless person.

In addition to Nicholson, Williams, and Boone, the bodies of Ernestine Battle, 50, Jarniece Hargrove, 31, Jackie Thorpe, 35, Melody Wiggins, 29, Elizabeth Jane Smallwood, 33, and Denise M. Williams, 21, have all been discovered dumped in wooded areas.

Investigators said most of the women had a history of drug abuse and prostitution - which likely made them more vulnerable.

Possible Pittman connection

A search warrant filed by investigators said a NC Highway Patrol trooper found Pittman asleep in a car on the day Jarniece Hargrove disappeared. The car was parked about 200 yards away from where her body was discovered about a month later.

Pittman has a criminal record. According to the North Carolina sex offender registry, he was convicted in 1994 of taking indecent liberties with a 2-year-old. He was released from prison in April 1997. He was also once charged with loitering for prostitution.

Pittman’s attorney says he’s not guilty of any killings.

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