Man did not report woman's death in home they shared, Wayne County deputies say

MOUNT OLIVE, N.C. (WNCN) - Wayne County deputies say that a man went weeks -- if not months -- without reporting the death of the woman with whom he shared a Grantham-area home.

Major Richard Lewis said investigators went to a mobile home on McArthur Pond Road to conduct a welfare check at the request of the property owner's family. The report filed with the sheriff's office said it had been months since anyone had seen the woman who rented the home.

Lewis said the man, who shared the single-wide trailer with the woman, came to the door when deputies knocked.

"They got to talking to him and made an inquiry into where the lady was that had been living there," Lewis said. "The detective kept pressing and (he) finally admitted that (she) was inside the house."

Investigators believe they know the identity of the person found inside the home, but Lewis said the body had been there so long that it could not immediately be identified.

The Medical Examiner's Office in Raleigh is working to confirm the identity is that of the woman who lived there, and to determine a cause and potential date of death.

Lewis said the man who lived at the home suffered a medical emergency as deputies interviewed him.

Lewis said it does not appear that drugs were involved in the woman's death or in the man's health episode.

Neighbors said they had no idea there was a woman in the home. Braxton Campbell said he thought the man he occasionally saw leave the home next door to go to church on Wednesdays was the only person inside.

"Never seen her. I've only seen him three times in two years. I mean, yeah, you think he's a weird guy, but you don't ever think anything like that," Campbell said.

"We get a phone call saying 'hey there's a coroner office (van) over here'. We're like, 'well, okay then'. We thought he had been the one that passed away, and it comes out to be her, and we're like 'we didn't even know she was there.' It's wild," he said.

"It's different, but you never know who your neighbor is when it comes down to it."

The case remains open while the Medical Examiner's Office completes its report.

"As the detective continues his investigation, once he finalizes that we will sit down and determine whether there are charges to be made," Lewis said.

The county condemned the home. Deputies described it as unliveable.


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