LUMBERTON, NC (WBTW) – One year ago the bodies of two women were discovered in Lumberton. Less than two months later, another woman’s body was found. No arrests have been made in any of the deaths.
Family members of Rhonda Jones held a vigil for the three women.
“Not just one, but three girls were found, and we the family want some answers,” Rhonda’s mother, Shelia Price, told News13. “It’s a year later, and we have nothing. We have no cause of death, we have like I said, nothing.”
Price said the last time she saw her daughter was Apr. 3 last year.
“Easter Sunday we had done our normal holiday cookout,” she said with tears in her eyes. “We kind of felt something was wrong because Rhonda would always show up on holidays.”
Price said the death of her daughter was one of the hardest days of her life.
“We got the call she was found in a trashcan, and that’s what hurts me as her mom the most,” she said. “Her being found in a trashcan. That’s something that I don’t think I’ll ever get over.”
Price said she doesn’t know what day her daughter died, and feels the family doesn’t have closure.
“We want to know what happened, why it happened, and who did it because this person needs to really be off the street because they are dangerous to the whole county,” said Price.
Rhonda’s sister, Shirlyn Whitaker, said it’s been a difficult year.
“We don’t want people to forget,” Whitaker said. “We don’t want these cases to go cold, and we feel frustrated. It’s hard not knowing.”
Whitaker said she wants people to know the kind of person her sister was.
“Rhonda had a problem yes, but she was not just some common drug addict on the street,” she said. “Rhonda’s got five kids, Rhonda’s got a grand-child, Rhonda’s got a sister, and brother, and mother.”
The vigil ended with a balloon release, and a song by one of Rhonda’s family members.
Some of the balloons had the names of the three women written on them, while others had special messages.
“She would always tell me she was in her own world of rainbows and butterflies, so now, she’s in her own world of rainbows and butterflies,” Price said about her daughter.
Price said she will never give up hope. “Until we do get answers,” she said. “We will keep fighting. We will never stop fighting fo justice.
The FBI and the Lumberton Police Department continue to ask the community for information to discover what happened to the three women. The bodies of the three women were found within a four-block radius along East 5th and East 9th Streets in Lumberton between April 18, 2017 and June 3, 2017.
“As police chief and as a member of this community, I want to know what happened to Christina, Rhonda and Megan. I also understand there is a lot of uncertainty, concern and even fear right now. Let me reassure you that we are committed to finding out the answers. We hope the people of Lumberton will help us,” said Chief Michael McNeill, Lumberton Police Department.
In January 2018, the FBI announced a reward of up to $30,000 for information that helps investigators determine the circumstances that led to the deaths of Christina Bennett, Rhonda Jones, and Megan Oxendine.
- Christina Bennett, known to her family as Kristin, was found deceased inside a house on Peachtree Street on April 18, 2017.
- Rhonda Jones was found deceased outside a house on East 5th Street on the same day.
- Megan Oxendine was found deceased outside a house on East 8th Street on June 3, 2017.
The Lumberton Police Department requested assistance from the FBI in June 2017 in the three death investigations.
FBI Public Affairs Specialist Shelley Lynch says last month, FBI agents conducted a door-to-door canvas in Lumberton. Agents knocked on approximately 800 doors and conducted 500 interviews over a three day period. Investigators continue to ask anyone who came into contact with the women to help officials create a timeline of when and where they were last seen alive.
A cause of death has not yet been determined for any of the women.
“Every part of our work benefits from help we receive from the public. So we ask you to pick up the phone and call us. Tell us what you know, what you heard, and what you saw,” said John Strong, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI in North Carolina.
Anyone with information regarding when and where the women were last seen, should call FBI Charlotte at 704-672-6100.