Monday, August 17, 2009


A billboard shows information about 9 women who are missing or dead in Rocky Mount, N.C.

North Carolina Town on Edge After 9 Women Disappear
Friday, August 14, 2009 / Associated Press

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. — They spent their nights jumping in and out of strange cars, trolling otherwise empty streets lined with decaying storefronts and boarded-up homes. Many sold sex to support drug habits or children left in the care of worried, hardworking grandmothers.

Even when they were picked up for drugs or prostitution, nights in jail looming, they called home to let their families know they were OK. Then, one by one, the calls stopped.

Since 2005, nine women who lived at the edges of the poor community in this small North Carolina city have disappeared. Six bodies were found along rural roads just a few miles outside town, most so decomposed that investigators could not tell how they died. At least one of the women was strangled, and all the deaths have been classified as homicides.

Three women are still missing.

Police will not say whether they suspect a serial killer, but people in the community about 60 miles northeast of Raleigh do, and they're impatient with law enforcement efforts to investigate the slayings.

After the latest body — that of 31-year-old Jarneice Hargrove — was found in June behind a burnt-out house that was once a crack den, local law enforcement and state police formed a task force.

In July, the FBI got involved.

PHOTOS: Women Mysteriously Vanish From N.C. Town

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