LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – Wednesday evening, officials identified the two women found earlier in the month in Lumberton.
According to Terry Parker with the Lumberton Police Department, the NC Medical Examiner’s Office in Raleigh says the female who was discovered at 505 Peachtree Street is Christina Bennett, 32, and the female found at 702 East 5th Street is Rhonda Jones, 36. Both victims had Lumberton addresses.
The victim’s identities were determined from prior medical records, Captain Parker says.
The cause of death has not been determined at this time, but the investigation into the matter is still ongoing, police confirm.
News13 spoke with the family of Rhonda Jones before the victims were identified.
The victim’s family says they had not heard from Jones in about three weeks and knew something was wrong when she didn’t show up for Easter.
Jones’ younger sister was at the crime scene and found out her sister could possibly be one of the victims after she asked investigators to look for a unique tattoo her sister had on her leg.
“I want whoever did this to be punished. I know somebody knows something. Because Rhonda knows everybody in that that area. Somebody knows what happened to Rhonda,” her mother, Shelia Price said. “She had 5 kids… She had a family that loved her… She had a grand-daughter that she loved with all of her heart. Somebody needs to be punished for what they did to her. She didn’t deserve this. No one deserved that!”
People in the area have been desperate for information since the investigation was launched April 18.
“I felt so sorry for those girls. Were they from here?” said Helen Hayes. “Who did it? What happened to them?”
Hayes explained a lot of crime in the area, especially drugs, makes her afraid to live alone.
She says a lot of people walk around at night even though it’s too dangerous, especially for women.
“I tell them they have no business walking around at night. I sit out here until the sun starts going down then I go in the house and lock my doors. They have to do the same thing,” said Hayes.
The Robeson County Medical Examiner says the two women’s bodies were found near 5th street one was found inside the home and the other in a trash can.
Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill explains the investigators are working with other agencies to ID the women. He confirms the area has a high crime rate with drugs and prostitution but detectives are looking to solve the case to for the families involved.
“We are trying to get some answers. That’s why we have investigators out,” explained Chief McNeill. “We’re going out, knocking door to door to see if anyone recognize these ladies. To give the public some information on who they are.”
McNeill says many rumors are starting on Facebook. He wants to address the rumors and ease tension in the area.
“The bodies were decomposed but there is no indication of the bodies being dismembered or those types of things. That is a rumor,” said McNeill.
McNeil says he understands the high level of fear in the area but hopes the community helps solve the investigation.
“Who put the bodies where they put them at? We have no idea. We’re fresh into this investigation and will continue until we can find out who these ladies. So the family can get some relief. And also try to find a perpetrator,” McNeill assures.
Hayes hopes police find a suspect and soon.
“It doesn’t make me feel safe,” Hayes said concerned.
Anyone with information concerning either of these investigations may call Detective’s Dereck Evans or Evan Whitley at 910-671-3845.