CARTHAGE, N.C. (WNCN) – Moore County went dark on Dec. 3, 2022, after an unknown person or people fired shots at two Duke Energy substations. Up to 45,000 customers lost power for as long as five days in some areas.
Among those without power was 87-year-old Karin Zoanelli. An autopsy report said she relied on an oxygen machine at night due to her chronic lung disease and pulmonary hypertension.
Without power, Zoanelli’s machine was inoperable. She was found unresponsive after complaining of breathing difficulty following the power outage.
A report from the state medical examiner stated, “Since the power outage involved reportedly occurred in the setting of a criminal firearm attack on the regional electrical distribution substation, the manner of death is best classified as Homicide.”
The FBI is still offering a $25,000 reward for the identification, arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the shooting. Anyone with information should call the Randolph County Sheriff’s Office at 336-318-6685, or contact the FBI at 1-800- CALL FBI or tips.fbi.gov.
After the attacks, Gov. Roy Cooper also announced a reward totaling up to $75,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible. Cooper’s office said the state is providing up to $25,000, while Duke Energy and Moore County would each offer rewards up to $25,000.
CBS 17 reached out to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office for comment on the autopsy results. The sheriff’s office said they had no new statement about the ongoing investigation into the attacks on the power grid. They added, “We continue to diligently investigate any and all leads pertaining to this case.”
Officials said a second attack at the Energy United substation in Randolph County in Jan. 2023 was unrelated to the Moore County incident. That attack also remains under investigation.
In June, Cooper signed Senate Bill 58 into law, which creates harsher punishments for the intentional damage of public utilities such as substations.