SPRING HOPE, N.C. (WNCN) – A woman is charged with murder after remains believed to belong to a Nash County woman missing since 2004 were found Thursday, according to the Nash County Sheriff’s Office.

Kimberly Hancock, 49, is charged with first-degree murder after authorities found human remains believed to be Deborah Deans, who was last seen in January of 2004.

The two were roommates when Deans disappeared, according to the Charley Project.

Detectives are still working to confirm the identity of the remains found.

“[It’s] very shocking and to actually know the people that live next door, even more shocking,” said neighbor Teresa Hamby. 

Around 5 p.m. Thursday, the Nash County Sheriff’s Office was executing a warrant to search land along the 1400 block of Wiley Road in Spring Hope. Deputies were acting on information pertaining to the location of a body.

“I could hear shovels digging in the back and I was a little nervous about that and not long after that, we saw the crime scene unit pull up in the yard,” said Hamby. “I said, ‘I wish y’all would tell me what is going on’ and they said they couldn’t at that time.”

According to details from the Charley Project, Deans was last seen after getting into an argument with Hancock on the morning of Jan. 19, 2004. Deans called someone to pick her up then left with that person, Hancock said.

Deborah Deans.

Deans left behind four children — including one infant. Their grandmother took custody of two of the children while the infant and a 5-year-old were placed in foster care.

“I’m still in shock from the whole situation, but I do hope they can find out who did this that it may give the family closure,” said Hamby. 

According to Hancock, Deans called her on March 24, 2004, and asked for permission to pick up her children. Hancock has previously been charged with forgery of an instrument and uttering forged instrument for cashing child support checks that belonged to Deans.

Public records list Deans’ last address as being along the 1400 block of Wiley Road, which is the area where the remains were found. She and Hancock lived there together, records show.

“The body appears to have been there for some time. Obviously, this is a location where an investigation occurred 15 years prior,” said Chief Brandon Medina with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office. 

Hancock was given no bond. She is due in court Friday at 9 a.m.