Help Wanted!

Published 9:32 am Wednesday, May 3, 2017

AHOSKIE – As is often the case in murder investigations, law enforcement agencies hit roadblocks and turn to the public for help.

The Ahoskie Police Department remains diligent as they work to find answers that will solve a trio of murders over the past three years.

Ruby Baker, age 85, was murdered inside her Parker Avenue home in the early morning hours of March 2, 2014.

Bryant O’Neil Jacobs, 40, was shot as he sat in a vehicle around 3:15 a.m. on April 30, 2016 in the 500 block of North McGlohon Street. He was found outside the vehicle and later died at Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

Keon Tyvelle Harrell, 29, of Ahoskie was shot and killed in the parking lot of the Ahoskie McDonalds shortly before 3 a.m. on Sept. 5 of last year.

While the Baker case was the center of attention at a news conference hosted by the Ahoskie Police last month (and reported in this newspaper on April 20), APD Chief Troy Fitzhugh is putting out a plea to the pubic to help bring all these cases to justice.

“We have two other unsolved murder cases, beside the one for Mrs. Baker, we are still investigation,” Fitzhugh said. “They are similar to Mrs. Baker’s case in the fact where the information we have right now has not proved fruitful in solving either case.”

Fitzhugh said Jacobs, who resided on North Academy Street, was airlifted to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville  where he died.

The Police Chief added that one of his officers heard the gunshots from a distance and went to investigate.

“A vehicle was seen leaving and was stopped, but after an investigation it proved that those in that vehicle were not involved,” Fitzhugh said. ‘There were others out and about at that time of the morning and they were interviewed as well, but so far we do not have enough to go on to make an arrest.”

Fitzhugh said that Jacobs was employed by the NC Dept. of Transportation and was “a nice young man.”

“He was sitting inside of a vehicle and was approached by the suspect and shot multiple times,” Fitzhugh noted.

The other case was Sept. 5, 2016 in the parking lot of McDonalds on Memorial Drive. There, the Chief said a few parties in the area had come to an end and a large crowd had assembled in the parking lot.

“The area of the drive-thru was packed,” Fitzhugh said. “At some point, an argument began between two different sets of people inside of two different vehicles. A hail of bullets came from both directions.”

Three people were hit in the gunfire; Harrell was the lone casualty. Fitzhugh said Harrell had exited the vehicle and was shot in the parking lot.

An ensuing investigation of the outdoor surveillance cameras at McDonalds did not reveal any needed information.

“We’re still looking for the person who shot and killed Mr. Harrell,” Fitzhugh said.

The Police Chief added that numerous people were questioned, but not enough information has been shared in order to make an arrest.

“We’re looking for any information that will help us make an arrest in this case as well as the other two unsolved murders,” Fitzhugh stressed. “It doesn’t matter if that info comes from someone who knew or was with the victim at the time of the shooting or knew or was with the suspect.”

Fitzhugh said it can be frustrating when there is a witness that holds the key to solving the crime, but does not immediately come forward to share what they know.

“That’s why it’s important on the part of law enforcement to show a lot of patience,” Fitzhugh remarked. “Our officers work hard in solving crimes, but there are times where the public can play just as big as a role in helping us solve cases, whether it’s a person that’s shot and lives, or one that is shot and dies.

“Somebody out there has the information we need to solve all of these cases, to include Mrs. Baker’s murder. We’re asking them to step forward and share what they know. I can guarantee that the identity of the person sharing the information will be kept confidential,” Fitzhugh concluded.

Those with information can call the Ahoskie Police Department at 252-332-5011 or the Crimestoppers line at 252-332-4066. They can also leave a tip at

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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