Mother of Johnston County chase suspect’s children was stabbed to death, police say


CLAYTON, N.C. (WNCN) – A female acquaintance of the man who led police on a highspeed chase in Johnston County on July 1 was stabbed to death, Smithfield police said Tuesday.

Smithfield police 28-year-old Alanda Abarca had been stabbed multiple times in the upper torso and neck before her body was found outside a residence on the 600-block of S. 4th Street at 6:51 a.m.

UPDATE: Suspect in Johnston County chase, shootout, crash was shot by trooper, officials say

Abarca was last seen on the day before at 2:30 p.m. at the residence.

She is the mother of two of the suspect’s children, neighbors and police said.

Authorities say the woman was reported missing, which prompted the police investigation.

Police said on Wednesday that Abarca and the suspect, 26-year-old Enrique Lopez, “were in a dating relationship.”

A motive for Abarca’s death is still being investigated.

The incident, which involved a stolen tow truck, happened along U.S. 70 Business near Hardee Lane and ended with a crash just after 4:35 p.m., officials said.

The chase began at 4:23 p.m. along Black Creek Road in Johnston County after local officials contacted the North Carolina State Highway Patrol.

During the chase, the Lopez fired at the trooper, who returned fire, hitting Lopez, authorities said.

Lopez ran over stop sticks deployed on U.S. 70 by law enforcement – forcing the tow truck to cross into the other lanes of traffic and then plow into a tree.

Authorities from Four Oaks, Smithfield and Clayton were also involved in the chase.

The entire highway was closed for about 35 minutes.

The state trooper was not injured and the motive behind the incident is unknown at this time.

The SBI will conduct an independent review. The highway patrol will also do an internal review. Both are standard anytime an officer is involved in a shooting.

Anyone with any information regarding the death of Abarca is asked to contact Detective Blinson with the Smithfield Police Department at 919-934-2121

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