Who killed Ruby Baker?

Published 9:51 am Thursday, April 20, 2017

AHOSKIE – One thousand one hundred and forty-eight days have come and gone since an intruder broke into the home of Ruby Baker and shot and killed the 85-year-old widow.

Despite that passage of time, members of the Baker family and the Ahoskie Police Department have not forgotten the tragic event which unfolded in the early morning hours of March 2, 2014. There and then, in what is typically a peaceful neighborhood, the life of whom many describe as a loving and caring woman was taken without provocation….and to this date, without motive.

Although tips continue to come in and are followed up by the Ahoskie Police, the identity of the person who pulled the trigger and fired a fatal shot into Baker’s heart remains a mystery.

On Tuesday morning, the Ahoskie Police, during a press conference, sent a message out to the public in an effort to obtain additional information on this case that will hopefully lead to an arrest.

APD Lt. Jeremy Roberts refused to reference Baker’s murder as a “cold case.”

Ruby Martin Baker was murdered inside her Ahoskie home shortly after midnight on March 2, 2014.

“We work cases, whether it’s a break-in or a murder, until the case is solved,” Roberts told TV and newspaper reporters gathered in the squad room of the police station.

Roberts said he personally knew Baker and her family.

“She was a loving mother, grandmother and great grandmother,” the APD officer noted. “She was well liked. She would go out and walk almost every day, often stopping at the homes of her neighbors to see if they wanted to join her and get exercise.

“If there is anyone that is a victim of a crime and is a true innocent victim that would be Mrs. Baker,” Roberts added.

He said called the person responsible for this murder a “coward.”

“In my opinion, the person that did this does not deserve the walk the streets of Ahoskie, or anywhere else for that matter,” Roberts said sternly. “They are truly a coward. That’s why we’re asking the public to help solve this case.”

Roberts stated that those with information can call the APD at 252-332-5011 or the Crimestoppers line at 252-332-4066. They can also leave a tip at www.ahoskiepd.com.

“You do not have to leave your name; all we want is your information,” Roberts stressed. “If you heard something, or were told something about this case, then call us. Just think how you would feel if this murder victim was your mother, sister or grandmother. Have a conscience and call.

“Something you may think is small or inconsequential may be exactly what we need to put that final piece of the puzzle together,” he added.

Roberts said the APD’s investigation to this point has led to interviews with individuals.

“But we just don’t have all the information we need that would lead us to an arrest,” he stated. “But we will not stop until we do solve this case. It may not be today, next week, or even next year, but we will find the person responsible. We will solve this case.”

Ahoskie Police Chief Troy Fitzhugh agreed with Roberts in saying this is not a cold case.

“This is a case not yet solved; we’re doing this (media alert) today in an effort to get this case back out in the public’s eye after three years. This may jar someone’s memory and help us solve this case.

“We don’t have cold case files; we work cases until they’re solved and that’s what we’re doing in the Baker case,” Fitzhugh added.

Fitzhugh said murder investigations are often time consuming. However, some, he said, are that way due to the unwillingness of those with information crucial to solving the case coming forward in an expeditious manner.

“It’s unfortunate when there is an individual or individuals within the local community who know what happened, but chooses not to share that information with law enforcement,” the police chief said. “This is another reason why we’re putting this plea out again for public help….maybe that person who would not earlier share information to help solve this case has had a change of heart and are now ready to come forward.”

Members of the Baker family attended the press conference and met with reporters.

“Three years is a long time to wait; it’s the toughest time of my life, but we support what the Ahoskie Police and others are doing to solve this; they’re working hard,” said Billy Baker, a retired firefighter with the Town of Ahoskie.

Linda Meeks, the first-born child of Ruby and William Baker, said she would never imagine her mother’s life ending in such a way.

“For an 85-year-old, mama was in good health,” Meeks remarked. “Plus she came from a family that enjoyed long life….her mother, my grandmother, lived to be 89; her daddy was 98.”

Meeks said her mother and father moved to Ahoskie in 1952 and two years later purchased a home at 802 Parker Avenue where they raised their four children. Mr. Baker passed away in 2007, but yet Mrs. Baker insisted on living alone at the family home, stressing that she did not want to place any unnecessary burdens on her children.

“Mama knew everyone; and once she met you she loved you for life,” Meeks shared in her memories. “Everybody that knew her loved her as well.”

When asked what would they say to someone who may have the information the police need to crack this case, Billy Baker summed it up with a short answer.

“Please come forward and talk,” he said.

“I would love to see this over with,” Meeks chimed in. “Someone out there knows something, and they may think it’s nothing to it (the information), but I would say to them to simply call the police and tell them what you know; let them decide whether it’s anything to it or not.”

Meeks said the family is comforted in the fact that the Ahoskie Police have vowed to solve this case.

“That means a lot to us,” she noted. “They have been very supportive and encouraging.”

Guided by the love Mrs. Baker had for her Lord and Savior, Meeks closed with a powerful message for the killer.

“That person may have shot and killed my mama, but they still didn’t win because my mama is in heaven,” Meeks stressed. “If that person is arrested and I get a chance to talk to them, I’m going to tell them to get their soul right with God so they can go to heaven. There, the first person to greet them will be my mama, and she will open her arms and say, come on in, I love you.”

In going back over the case, Roberts said the call was placed to the APD at 12:56 a.m. on March 2, 2014. The call came in from an alarm company.

He said the first officers arrived three minutes later, finding a door of the residence open. Once inside they found Mrs. Baker suffering from a gunshot wound. She died a short time later at Vidant Roanoke-Chowan Hospital.

Roberts would not share many other details, saying he wanted to preserve the integrity of the case and safeguard the information obtained to this point by the three-year investigation.

There is a $5,500 reward offered to those that provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons involved.

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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