FBI raises reward to $40,000 after 3 Lumberton women found dead 4 years ago

North Carolina news

LUMBERTON, N.C. (WNCN) – The Federal Bureau of Investigation increased the reward to $40,000 for information on what led to the deaths of three Lumberton women who died within a few weeks of each other in 2017.

Megan Oxendine, Rhonda Jones, and Christina Bennett were all found dead within a four-block radius between April 18, 2017, and June 3, 2017. In the year after their deaths, the FBI said it was assisting Lumberton police and more than 400 interviews had been conducted and more than 50 leads were followed.

The FBI’s reward was previously $30,000.

’32 Degrees’ – CBS 17 anchor Russ Bowen’s podcast on the deaths of Oxendine, Bennett, and Jones

Bennett, 32, was found dead at an abandoned home on Peachtree Street. Jones, 36, was found dead in a trash can. Oxendine’s body was found weeks later. It was “markedly decayed” outside of an abandoned home. An autopsy was unable to determine how the 28-year-old died.

CBS 17 learned in March 2017 that rape kits for all three women sat untested at the Lumberton police department for a year and eight months.

Then, in April 2019, just before the two-year anniversary, additional evidence was submitted to the state crime lab.

Abby Patterson, 21, has been missing from Lumberton since September 2017. In November 2018, 13-year-old Hania Aguilar was kidnapped and later found murdered.

On Friday, the FBI released statements from law enforcement authorities.

Lumberton’s Police Chief Michael McNeill released the following statement on the murders:

I think about these women and their families constantly, it weighs on me heavily that this tragedy occurred, and we don’t yet know exactly what happened. We are grateful to the community members who have cooperated with these investigations and we hope more people will come forward with information to help us bring closure to Rhonda, Christina, and Megan’s families.”

Lumberton Police Chief Michael McNeill

FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert R. Wells also released a statement:

These women mean a lot to their families, friends, and neighbors. Whoever is responsible for what happened to them must be held accountable. The FBI asks you to think back to four years ago, did someone you know begin acting differently? It’s possible the offender left the area, but if they stayed their regular habits and demeanor likely changed. Sometimes, all it takes is for you to come forward with that piece of information that matches the evidence and completes the puzzle to solve a case.”

FBI Special Agent in Charge Robert R. Wells

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