Arrest made in 37-year-old case

Published 11:31 am Monday, August 31, 2009

WINDSOR – With an arrest made this morning (Monday), the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office has apparently solved a 37-year-old triple homicide.

In a press release, Bertie Sheriff Greg Atkins reported the arrest of 68-year-old Roy Lawrence Rascoe. He stands charged with three counts of first-degree murder in the 1972 deaths of his wife and two small children.

Atkins told the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that Rascoe was arrested in Butner, a town located in southeastern Granville County, north of Durham. The Sheriff said that Bertie deputies were to transport Rascoe back to Bertie County later today.

According to the press release, on the morning of November 26, 1972, fire destroyed a house located at Route 1, Box 247, Windsor. This was the home of Roy Lawrence Rascoe, his wife, Annie Elizabeth Smallwood Rascoe, and their two small children – then one-year-old Retta Renee Rascoe and then two-year-old Tony Ray Rascoe.

After the fire, the badly burned remains of Mrs. Rascoe and her two children were found at the scene. Mr. Rascoe was unharmed.

In recent months, new evidence related to this incident was uncovered. Since then, the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office, with substantial assistance from the Windsor Police Department, the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, has been diligently investigating the case. That probe led to today’s arrest.

Along with these three counts of first degree murder, Mr. Rascoe is also charged with first degree arson of their Indian Woods home.