Murder probe points to Northampton

Published 8:41 am Thursday, June 4, 2015

ISLE OF WIGHT, VA – Ever since Feb. 12, 2013, the family of the late Torrey Lamont Anderson has asked who killed their loved one.

Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Lt. Tommy Potter is asking the same question….and thinks the answer lies somewhere in Northampton County.

Anderson, 21 at the time of his death, lived in Murfreesboro with his grandparents after relocating from Raleigh. He was working at Smithfield Packing in Smithfield, VA.

At 3 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2013, a passerby traveling on Nike Park Road in Carrollton, VA noticed a vehicle on fire and called 9-1-1. When firefighters arrived at the scene to extinguish the blaze, they made a gruesome discovery – a badly burned body located near the vehicle.

Following a probe by the medical examiner, the man was identified as Anderson. However, it was discovered that he died of a gunshot wound prior to his body being set on fire.

“We’ve spent over two years working this case and all of our investigations to date points us towards a person or persons of interest in Northampton County, North Carolina that may know something,” said Potter. “We’ve interviewed people from that area, to include some living near Murfreesboro and from Conway. We believe Mr. Anderson was with those same individuals the weekend before he was murdered. Somebody down there knows something.”

Potter added that unless some new evidence is revealed, he didn’t think Anderson was killed elsewhere and his car and body were moved to Carrollton.

“Until we find out something differently, we think this young man was shot and killed here in our county,” he said.

One interesting twist to develop during the investigation is that Potter noted how the victim developed and basically stuck to the same daily routine.

“He would get up in the morning, drive from Murfreesboro to Smithfield, work his job, and go home; it seems he didn’t go out much other than that,” Potter said. “However, on the weekend prior to his murder, Mr. Anderson didn’t go home to Murfreesboro. Instead he spent the weekend with some friends in Newport News, VA. We think those friends are the same ones from your area there in Northampton County.”

Potter said he has worked with Northampton Sheriff Jack Smith, Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan and Murfreesboro Police Chief Darrell Rowe in an effort to crack the case.

“They’ve been extremely helpful; we’ve been down there 10, 15, 20 times and every time they have been very cooperative. They want to see the person or persons responsible for the murder of this young man brought to justice just as badly as we do here at the Isle of Wight Sheriff’s Office,” Potter stressed.

Potter added that his heart bleeds for Anderson’s family.

“Yes, we know that he was a young man with a prior criminal history (arrested for felony breaking and entering, and larceny) ….that was the entire reason for him leaving Raleigh and moving in with grandparents, who are very upstanding citizens there in your area,” Potter said. “He got a job and was considering enrolling in a community college in an effort to better himself and become a respectable member of society. And then someone took his life.”

A reward is being offered by the family for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons involved in Anderson’s murder.

Torrey’s grandmother, Sylvia Anderson, confirmed that the family has raised the money for the reward. They also pay a monthly fee for a roadside billboard, located near Murfreesboro, that keeps this murder case fresh on the minds of those traveling that route.

“We wanted to do something to help law enforcement find who killed our baby,” Mrs. Anderson said. “We feel somebody knows something about what happened in the early morning hours of that February night in 2013.”

She admitted that her grandson made some mistakes as a young teenager, but was making positive steps to rebuild his life prior to his murder.

“He was on the path of doing things right in his life,” she stressed. “He got up every morning and was off to his job at 5:30 a.m. He didn’t give me or his grandfather (Michael Anderson) any problems; he was very polite to us.”

She recalled that Torrey’s dream was to make a better life for himself. Part of that plan included going back to school.

“He wanted to enroll at Paul D. Camp (Community College in Franklin, VA) and obtain a degree from their HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning technology) program,” Mrs. Anderson noted. “He filled out papers for financial aid. We were so proud of him for that. We were notified by letter in April of 2013, just a few months after his murder, that he had been accepted into that program. It broke our heart to know he was so, so close to realizing his dream.”

Now, the Anderson family – to include Torrey’s mother, father and two sisters – struggles to come to grips that their grandson’s killer remains unknown.

“We pray to God every day, asking him to guide law enforcement to those that committed this vicious crime,” Mrs. Anderson said. “Not knowing who this evil person is can really play on your mind; it’s so depressing.

“They may have taken Torrey’s physical presence from me, but they can never take him away from my mind or from my heart. I’m more determined than ever to help bring the person or persons responsible to justice. Yes, we want justice for Torrey, but we also want to protect others from having to suffer through this same grief. We do not want this evil person to have the chance to hurt another family like he’s hurt ours,” she concluded.

“If someone knows anything about this case, no matter how insignificant you think it is, it will help us out,” Potter said. “Breaking a case is often accomplished by taking small bits of information and putting the puzzle together.”

Those with information can share it anonymously by calling the Virginia Crime Line, toll-free, at 1-888-LOCKUUP.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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