Murder in Seaboard

Published 9:57 am Tuesday, December 6, 2016

JACKSON – The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation have charged a Northampton County mother with the murder of her child.

Sherika Norwood

Sherika Norwood

On Friday, SBI Agents served the warrant for first degree murder while the woman was in custody at the Northampton County Jail. The new charge prompted the magistrate to withhold any bond.

Sherika Danielle Norwood, 26, of Seaboard was previously charged by the SBI in early October with felony child abuse inflicting serious injury after her four year old son was found deceased at the family residence. She had remained in jail since that initial arrest, held under a $1 million bond.

The investigation of Rakeem Tyrone Norwood’s death continued and autopsy results prompted the charge, after consultation with the District Attorney’s office.

The homicide investigation was jointly conducted by the Seaboard Police Department, Northampton County Sheriff’s Office, and the SBI.

The investigation began in late September when Deputy W. Killian of the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of an unresponsive child shortly after 3 a.m. The child was found unresponsive in the hallway of the residence, located on East Church Street, where he lived with his mother.

Seaboard Police Chief Virginia Powell said in a statement that Killian began to administer CPR on the child upon his arrival. Northampton EMS arrived on scene shortly after and transported the child to Halifax Regional Medical Center in Roanoke Rapids.

Powell was notified of the call due to foul play being suspected while Northampton County DSS/Child Protective Services and Sheriff’s Detective J. Jenkins also responded to HRMC, where the child was later pronounced dead.

A search warrant was executed at Norwood’s residence by Powell and Sheriff’s Captain Patrick.

Powell also notified the SBI, which provided processing of the crime scene. Several items of evidence were collected.

Powell said that the child sustained serious and extensive injuries about his body. She added that it appeared the boy had old scars about his body consistent with ongoing abuse. It is believed, she said, a belt was used to inflict the injuries and there were fresh wounds on his body the morning the call was made he was unresponsive.

“Over time, it got too much for his body to take,” Powell said back in October. “Old scars had healed and he had fresh ones when we got there.”

Powell said it has not been determined whether the belt was the proximate cause of death.

The boy was a twin and Powell said there was reportedly evidence of old scarring on his surviving sibling.

Jacobs, who obtained a search warrant on Sept. 30, noted he was looking for evidence of blood, items used as weapons to inflict burn marks, items used as weapons to inflict abrasions, bruises and puncture wounds and any other items used to assault the child.

He also stated in the document he was looking for liquid fluid such as Kool-Aid as the initial report given to Northampton County Central Communications was the child choked on the beverage and EMS was needed.

Jacobs wrote in the search warrant application he was looking for any other objects containing blood and any other evidence that constituted the crime of assault inflicting serious bodily injury of a child under 12.

Law enforcement seized a liquid red substance from a white Styrofoam cup, one black belt and one white belt.

Hospital personnel notified law enforcement to respond as the juvenile had multiple bruises, scars and burn marks all over his body.

Detective Jenkins and Chief Powell arrived at the hospital. They noticed a large open wound on his right buttock, which the medical examiner said was an apparent burn mark. The officers also observed burn marks and abrasions on the left buttock that appeared to be old and healing wounds.

There were extensive large amounts of bruising all over the boy’s chest and stomach area, Jacobs wrote in the application, as well as bruising on the left shoulder, left hip, right hip down to the right knee, left leg and right forearm.

Jacobs noted more injuries to the child, including abrasions and lacerations on the left shoulder. His collarbone area had an open wound with blood present and “a busted bottom lip.”

The juvenile also had abrasions on his right temple, knees and left forearm.

“The juvenile had new and old scars, bruises and abrasions over his entire body. The juvenile had punctures, holes, healing wounds on his shoulder, legs and back,” it was noted in the report filed by Jacobs.

There were abrasions and cut marks over the entire back of his body, Jacobs wrote.

Norwood told law enforcement, Jacobs wrote, the child’s biological father lived in Virginia and she allowed the boy to stay with him from Sept. 26-29.

However, in interviews with her, she was unsure of the father’s information, his phone number and where he lived in Virginia.

“The father had not been involved in the child’s life before and this was the first time,” Jacobs wrote in his report.

Jacobs wrote the medical examiner’s conclusion was the injuries ranged from approximately days to weeks old and were in various stages of healing and injury.

Powell, who spoke with Norwood’s current boyfriend, said the child was home on September 29 and never went anywhere with his biological father.

In the arrest warrant, Agent T. Johnson of the SBI, noted he found probable cause to believe Norwood unlawfully, willfully and intentionally committed assault resulting in seriously bodily injury, beating the child with a belt and buckle over the child’s entire body causing open wounds and punctures.

Those wounds, he wrote in the warrant, “resulted in the permanent loss and impairment of any meaningful and emotional function of the victim.”

(Lance Martin, the Editor and Publisher of, contributed to this story. )

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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