Suspect in custody for Aulander murder and assault

Published 6:26 pm Thursday, April 6, 2023

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WINDSOR – A suspect is in custody for the Feb. 20 murder of an elderly Aulander woman and for assaulting her caretaker.

Robert Tyjuan Reid

This afternoon (Thursday), Bertie Sheriff Tyrone Ruffin said that Robert Tyjuan Reid of Covington, Georgia is behind bars in that state, awaiting extradition to Bertie County.

Ruffin said arrest warrants, which were obtained yesterday (Wednesday) were served on Reid for first degree murder, first degree forcible rape, attempted first degree murder, two counts of first degree kidnapping, and other felony assault charges.

Ruffin said the arrest came after an extensive investigation by the Bertie County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation.

In a telephone interview late this afternoon (Thursday), with this newspaper, Ruffin said Reid has a connection to the Aulander area.

“He wasn’t living here at the time of the murder and the assault, but he has family living here in the local area,” Ruffin said. “It’s to our understanding that he was wanted for some severe-level crimes in Georgia and fled into South Carolina where he was arrested.”

Ruffin added that a motive for the Aulander murder/assault is still being investigated.

Reid is alleged to have murdered 80-year-old Lan Thi Rawls at her home at 108 North Commerce Street in Aulander on the night of Feb. 20. Her caregiver, 62-year-old Rochelle Harrell, survived the attack and was airlifted to ECU Health Medical Center in Greenville.

A secondary crime scene was established in the 800 block of South Commerce Street in Aulander. It was there that a vehicle belonging to one of the victims was found.

Ruffin thanked Bertie Sheriff’s deputies and investigators, as well as the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, and the Aulander Police Department for their work on the case. He also thanked the Covington, GA Police Department, Georgia State Bureau of Investigation, and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.