Missing Mommies: Rocky Mount 10 (Rocky Mount, NC)

March 24, 2013  |  
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Yes.  TEN.  Since 2005, in a small town of 60,000 people, ten black women have gone missing.  Nine of those ten bodies or remains have been found in or near the same area: Melody Wiggins, Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, Taraha Nicholson, Elizabeth Jane Smallwood, Denise Williams, Ernestine Battle, Jarniece Lotonya Hargrove, Christine Marie Boone and Yolanda Renee Lancaster.  Some of the bodies were so badly decomposed; authorities could not tell how they died.  One had a piece of her throat missing authorities believe was carried away by animals in the woods where her remains were found.

It’s almost common knowledge that two bodies being found in the same area with similar circumstances would raise a red flag that there is a POSSIBILITY they are linked.  But even after the 6th body or the 7th and Antwan Maurice Pittman being charged with the murder of Taraha Shenice Nicholson and a suspect of four more, police STILL have not officially linked all the murders and disappearances.

Joyce Renee Durham, 46 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen at the 1500 block of Harper Street at 2:30 p.m. on June 17, 2007.   Joyce is 5’2, 118 pounds and has dark brown skin.  She is the only one of the Rocky Mount 10 whose remains still have not been found.

Antwan Pittman was sentenced to life in prison for the death of Taraha Nicholson.  All remaining 9 cases are still unsolved.  If you have any information please contact the Rocky Mount Police Department at 252.972.1411

Hit the flip to see Rocky Mount Missing Mommies:

Christine Marie Boone, 43, reported missing January 16, 2007. Her body was found on March 5, 2010 in a wooded area behind the former home of suspect, Antwan Maurice Pittman.

Taraha Shenice Nicholson, 28. Remains found on March 7, 2009 near Marriott Road in Edgecombe County.

Joyce Renee Durham, 46, was last seen June 17, 2007. She is still missing.

Yolanda Renee Lancaster, 37, was last seen February 2009. Her remains were found January 2011 in Edgecombe County.

Jarniece Hargrove, 31, remains were found on June 29, 2009 near the intersection of Seven Bridges Road in Edgecombe County.

Ernestine Battle, 50, was last seen February 2008. Her remains were found on March 14, 2008 along Seven Bridges Road in Edgecombe County.

Melody Wiggins, 29, was found near Nobles Mill Pond Road in Edgecombe County on May 30, 2005.

Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, 35, was reported missing on May 8, 2007. Her remains were found on August 17, 2007 behind a house on Seven Bridges Road.

Elizabeth Jane Smallwood, 33, remains were found in February 2009 along Melton Drive in Edgecombe County.

Denise Williams, 21, found in an Edgecombe County creek.

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  • We must learn to value our own. Instead of waiting for someone else to care about us as a people, we must learn to care about ourselves. We have African American billionaires that aren’t helping in the black communities as they “could.” Many people would rather focus on buying the next new jet or car than helping other blacks. There are black owned television stations that could and should do something daily for black and missing. But, they would rather focus on the next and upcoming rappers. Our people are dying at alarming rates, at the hands of one another as well as others. Our people need to wake up. Please, please take the time to read the Willie Lynch Letters on google. Then you would understand my frustration with my people.

  • low_sky

    It’s sad, we had a missing case here in Norfolk last year and the local media only reported about the case once or twice. The most disturbing thing is that the young lady home was part of the crime scene. That was the last place she had been. Her body was found in her next door neighbor’s home 2 months later. The detectives told the family that they were working on the case. They didn’t care about that young black women and it was even sadder for me because I know her sister.


    It is said if it is two or more, then a serial killer is at hand and therefore i don’t understand why the feds have not stepped up as of yet, evidence if not handled correctly could be comprimised not to mention they have more sophisticated equipment for the older crime scenes and corpses. While they have one person behind bars for one murder, i can’t help but wonder is this their way of putting the general public at ease? They do realise that serial killers travel, move from place to place, and most are quite intelligent, for this is a game to them! Its time for the law enforcers to get up to speed on this, these ladies deserve to allow their families to have closure and they rest in peace, this should have been stepped up in as much as procedures are concerned.

  • T.H.

    This is so sad,From what I can see in some of the pictures look like a few were at one time locked up could this be a connection with the missing women.

  • Mistress OfSubs

    FYI: four are mugshots, one is iffy due to bad picture quality, and the other two with blue backgrounds are definitely DMV photos.

  • Mistress OfSubs

    I just want to point out something, because I heartily agree with you that these cases are not at all publicized like cases of missing white victims. But the blame should NOT be laid on the tables of law enforcement. IT’S THE MEDIA’S FAULT. They are the ones who choose what stories to pursue and to run in repetition, and they do this based, on what gets them the best ratings. And what gets them the best ratings is what the public wants to read.

    LE, by and large, investigate each case with equal fervor (admittedly, with a bit more energy and resources given to crimes against children). But the media doesn’t show you that. Every time they pass up a story on the wire about a black victim in favor of other news, they are telling you that they believe you won’t be interested in that black victim. We must find a way, as a country, to tell them different.

  • Mistress OfSubs

    It’s not that law enforcement isn’t willing to do anything about it. Killers in this day and age are much more savvy, and with the prolification of information about investigative tactics easily attained via television, the internet, print media and the like, it makes the job of investigating these types of crimes much, much more difficult.

    Also, you mentioned that several pictures appeared to be mugshots. A smart killer knows to target victims who might, for whatever reason, be willing to put themselves in circumstances that could lead to danger. This is why many serial killers commonly target prostitutes; they are easy to gain access to and, by the very nature of their occupation, must put themselves in situations that could easily turn dangerous.

    I’m not saying ANY of these women were prostitutes or put themselves in dangerous situations. Some of the pics also appear to be DMV photos, which can often be misinterpreted as mugshots. But it’s important to understand that a predator is always on the lookout for prey. We never go about our lives thinking we’d like to become a victim. But the sad truth is that predators are always looking for that one opportunity, and it begins with someone who does not expect to be victimized.

    Finally, with regard to what the author said about these cases not being formally acknowledged by LE as being connected: that is not uncommon, and it absolutely makes sense. In fact, this is a sign of investigative integrity. What that means is that the guy didn’t leave DNA with his victims, or the victims’ bodies were too effected by the elements of nature to attain foreign samples. In lieu of DNA, it would be wholly imprudent to take a position linking deaths, even if the M.O.s or criminal signatures are strikingly similar. I’m reminded of the case of Edmund Kemper. During his killing period, there were two other active killers in the same area targeting the same type of victims (young white women). Some of the methodry of the three killers overlapped. Had LE assumed all the victims were killed by one suspect, there could easily be two other killers walking about today.

    I can assure you, though, that LE take these cases very seriously. In fact, it often dominates the investigator’s every thought. Driving down the road to pick up your kids from school, you are thinking about how the victim came into contact with their killer. Preparing dinner, you are wondering which wound was inflicted first. It can drive you nuts. But LE can’t reveal all the tireless hours they put into their investigations any more than they can offer the public the information they crave. It just isn’t good police work.

  • concerned

    Has anyone noticed that at least six of these pictures are mugshots? Its very sad that a serial killer is out there and law enforcement won’t do anything about it. Could it be that they don’t care since these ladies had records? This is so sad my heart goes out to the families of all these women

  • jg

    Whites and blacks are all treated the same

  • speakup4truth

    Somebody isn’t doing their job. Horrible story! Ladies always know what’s going on around you!

  • Thanks for bringing this to light Ms. Childs, my cousin Sharon Taylor was in quit the same situation these other women are, but my family have no closure she remains missing. It is a very sad situation because we dont have the resources and our local law enforcement are reluctant to act. When I heard this story I was for sure we were going to find her, but i guess it went cold. My family need closure we already lost her mom to cancer we need closure on her whereabouts.

  • Makabit

    This is a really disturbing story. Thanks for reporting on it.

  • Working with Black and Missing but Not Forgotten leaves me with a flood of mixed emotions from sad to full blown being livid. I wasn’t totally naive to think blacks didn’t come up missing but because I generally did not hear of any cases, I thought it was a “white thing”. I can name every high profile missing person case from Adam Walsh to Chandra Levy to Caylee Anthony off the top of my head without thinking twice. I had to think hard just naming 3 missing blacks before I joined BAMBNF. Everyday I’m reminded that our lives are just not valued the same. We do not hold the same worth as Laci Peterson or Chandra Levi. Your child is not as important as Jon Bonet Ramsey. He/she is not. Everyday I’m reminded of this. The media has said “we only do stories people relate to.” Black/brown faces are not relatable. They’re telling us this. So we have to take matters in our own hand. Report our missing. Put pressure on your local news station about any case you know of. Our stories must be heard. Join us on facebook at facebook.com/blackandmissing and our website http://www.blackandmissing.org

  • BlogBytch

    Let me read this again because I know it doesn’t say 10 dead women… hold on.

  • T. W.

    I went to school with one of the deceased AND Pittman. Class of ’97. Let’s just say I am not surprised he turned out a murderer.

    Many people have reported seeing a pickup truck taking the women or being seen near the dump site. Let’s just say I am not surprised Rocky Mount police haven’t done much of anything.

    The Raleigh News and Observor did a good article a few years back. This story was to be featured on Nancy Grace but a woman killed her baby and she said that took priority. Guess what ethnicity the mother was?