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Kidnapping case ends tragically

RICH SQUARE – An already sad incident ended tragically here early Tuesday morning.

Northampton County Sheriff Wardie Vincent said the body of Nekia Ann Hunter, 27, was found at an abandoned home near the intersection of U.S. 258 and N.C. 308, just south of Rich Square.

Hunter had been reported kidnapped from a residence on Stanford Street in Rich Square during the early morning hours Monday.

An arrest has been made. Sheriff Vincent said Garland Maurice Fisher, 27, of Felton Place in Rich Square is currently in the Northampton County Detention Center under no bond charged with first degree murder, first degree rape, first degree kidnapping, first degree burglary, robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill and attempted murder.

The investigation began when Rich Square Police Chief Bo Roye and deputies with the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to the residence on Stanford Street at approximately 2:45 a.m. There they found Ricky Harris, who had been stabbed and was reportedly bleeding profusely. Harris was transported to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital where he was listed in serious but stable condition on Monday.

Roye also said Hunter had been kidnapped from the residence and was missing along with her black 1995 Acura Integra.

The search for her began in earnest Monday afternoon, according to Vincent. At approximately 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, the Northampton County Search Team, the North Carolina Highway Patrol helicopter and the Prison Emergency Response Team (PERT) began searching. Vincent also said a K-9 from Johnston County was brought in to be part of the effort.

The sheriff said the group concentrated their search on an area southeast of U.S. 258 and N.C. 308 after receiving information from a person of interest.

“We did several areas of grid searches,” Vincent said. “After talking more in depth with the person of interest, he gave us information about where the victim may be.”

The body of the victim was located at an abandoned home near the intersection of the two roads at approximately 3:30 a.m.

“She had been murdered and it was apparent she was abducted,” Vincent said. “We do not know the cause of death at this point, but there was obvious physical assault from the appearance of the body.”

Vincent said the body had been sent to Greenville for an autopsy.

The victim’s vehicle was found approximately 150 yards away, according to the sheriff.

“We appreciate the help of the citizens who were instrumental in this case reaching this point,” Vincent said. “I can’t say enough how much we are thankful for their help.”

He also said he appreciated the support of local law enforcement and the state and federal agencies whom assisted.