Latest North Carolina news, sports, business and entertainment at 11:20 a.m. EDT
DEMENTIA-MISSING WOMAN FOUND
Caretaker accused of lying about SC woman reported missing
LATTA, S.C. (AP) – The caretaker of an 85-year-old woman has been charged with lying to police about the woman’s disappearance.
Latta police Chief Derrick Cartwright tells news outlets that 62-year-old Liliah Smith gave police information that falsely led them to believe Jaxie Rogers disappeared from a Latta parking lot last week. Smith told authorities that she left Rogers in a car while she went inside a grocery store and returned to see Rogers driving away.
Cartwright says security video disproved Smith’s account and led investigators to determine Rogers had been last seen near Smith’s home.
Rogers’ abandoned car was found Tuesday near a North Carolina river. Rogers was later found alive in a nearby wooded area. Officials said Rogers may have traveled through high water to get there.
Crazed raccoon attacks dogs in Charlotte’s fifth rabies case
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) – Health officials say two pet dogs attacked and killed a rabid raccoon, marking the fifth time this year a rabies-infected animal has been caught in the Charlotte area.
Mecklenburg County Animal Control says the deranged raccoon wandered into a residential neighborhood Tuesday night and attacked the dogs, which then killed it. The Charlotte Observer reports the dogs had their vaccines and were unhurt. The latest attack brings the total to five confirmed rabies cases among raccoons in the same North Carolina county this year.
The newspaper reports violent raccoons have recently attacked two other pets, including a cat, which had to be euthanized due to the severity of its injuries. Now officials are warning residents to watch out for rabid animals and to make sure their pets are vaccinated.
Camp Lejeune reiterates warning about island trespassing
CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (AP) – Camp Lejeune officials are reminding people of a no trespassing policy in place for an island that the Marine base uses for live-fire training.
In addition, Lejeune (luh-JERN’) officials reiterated that access to creeks and tributaries that lead to Browns Island is restricted.
The Marines said in news release Thursday that in addition to the live-fire training, another safety issue is unexploded ordnance. Previously buried ordnance has been exposed on the island since Hurricane Florence struck in September.
Military police working with the U.S. Coast Guard regularly patrol the area and issue citations to trespassers, who must appear before the federal magistrate in Wilmington. Violators can be imprisoned up to six months and fined a maximum of $5,000.
Browns Island is between Onslow Beach and Hammocks Beach State Park.
PREGNANT WOMAN KILLED-WITNESS
Murder trial witness killed 2 weeks after testifying
(Information from: The Asheville Citizen-Times, http://www.citizen-times.com)
ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) – A pregnant woman who was shot and killed in North Carolina had testified against a murder suspect in court two weeks ago.
The Asheville Citizen-Times reports 24-year-old Tiyquasha Antwonique Simuel suffered multiple gunshot wounds and died at a hospital Wednesday. Asheville Police spokeswoman Christina Hallingse declined to say whether Simuel’s baby survived, citing state law.
Simuel testified against her ex-boyfriend Nathaniel Dixon in late May. Dixon is accused of killing Candace Pickens and attempting to kill her then-3-year-old son in 2016. Pickens was pregnant at the time.
The judge for the murder trial closed the courtroom to anyone other than immediate family, criminal justice officials and reporters. The trial is ongoing.
Simuel hadn’t been publicly identified as a witness before her death.
Police haven’t announced any arrests in Simuel’s slaying.
Gaming commission advances without fantasy sports regulation
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – A measure creating a new state commission to oversee the state lottery, bingo and raffles and boxing in North Carolina has now cleared a House committee, minus any language to regulate fantasy sports games.
The House Judiciary Committee voted for the North Carolina Gaming Commission proposal on Thursday, a week after legislation containing both the commission and new fantasy sports regulations failed. Some members panned language in that bill declaring fantasy sports games aren’t gambling.
Thursday’s debate focused on a failed amendment that would have removed video lottery games from the list of activities the proposed commission would conduct feasibility studies on, which include sports betting and steeplechases.
A state lottery commission already exists, so the measure now heading to another committee would merge its duties into the new commission.
SOLDIER-GUNFIRE INTO HOME
Police: Solider wearing military gear opened fire into home
LAUREL HILL, N.C. (AP) – Authorities in North Carolina say an active-duty soldier wearing military-issued ballistic gear opened fire into a home and was then wounded by return gunfire and injured in a car accident.
News outlets report 24-year-old Eric Jerrod Davis, a soldier at Fort Bragg, was charged with attempted murder Wednesday. Scotland County Sheriff’s investigators say he fired into a home early Sunday morning.
Authorities say he targeted someone inside the home and fired, with other people also inside. Davis was wounded when someone fired back, and then crashed his car while fleeing. Davis was reported “in a critical state and highly unstable,” at a hospital.
Police said Davis was “wearing his military issued ballistic gear,” including a bulletproof vest, during the shooting.
It is not clear if anyone else was injured.
ELECTION 2020-SENATE-NORTH CAROLINA
Rep. Walker won’t challenge Sen. Tillis in NC GOP primary
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) – Rep. Mark Walker announced Thursday that he won’t challenge Sen. Thom Tillis in North Carolina’s Republican primary next year, a move that shows President Donald Trump’s influence on state politics and the high stakes in the 2020 congressional elections.
Walker said he’ll focus on remaining in the House, rather than trying to move over to the Senate, even though he says Trump and conservatives had encouraged him to switch.
Walker’s name surfaced after GOP activists complained Tillis wasn’t supporting Trump enough. Some were particularly unhappy with Tillis’ initial opposition to Trump’s emergency declaration for the wall at the Mexico border. Tillis later changed his mind and has since intensified his public support for the president.
Raleigh financier Garland Tucker got into the Senate primary race last month.
MISSING GIRL FOUND
Long missing Missouri child found with mom in North Carolina
MURPHY, N.C. (AP) – Authorities say a missing 5-year-old-old girl whose father hadn’t seen her since she was a baby has been found in North Carolina, and her mother is charged in Missouri with abducting her.
The U.S. Marshals Task Force said in a news release that 25-year-old Jillanne Pagano was taken into custody Wednesday in Murphy, North Carolina, after she was seen leaving a home with the child. She is awaiting extradition to Missouri, where she was charged last year with felony child abduction.
Posters distributed online last year by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said the girl went missing as a baby from Rocheport, Missouri.
Charging documents say the child’s father hadn’t seen his daughter since August 2013. He was granted custody in December 2016.