PERSON COUNTY, North Carolina (WTVD) — Two people have been arrested in connection with a home invasion in Person County where a woman was found dead.
According to the Person County Sheriff’s Office, it appears Nancy Horton, 80, has been dead for some time after her body was discovered Tuesday night at her home on Burlington Road. The sheriff’s office said Horton was killed during the home invasion.
Two sources who spoke to Sheriff Dewey Jones confirmed the break in the case.
On Wednesday evening, Jones identified the suspects as Roger Letroy Wilkerson, 39, and a minor.
The sheriff said deputies along with the SBI executed multiple search warrants at Wilkerson’s home at E. Morehead Street and Pulliam Street. Wilkerson, who was on bail for another offence, already had three warrants for breaking and entering motor vehicles. He was charged with felon possession of a firearm, carrying a concealed pistol/pistol, possession with intent to sell and distribute marijuana. , possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of schedules III and IV, and resisting, delaying or obstructing an officer.
While executing those warrants, evidence was found in connection with the Horton homicide case, the sheriff said. This evidence led Wilkerson to be charged with murder.
Juvenile motions have been filed against the other suspect for breaking and entering motor vehicles and murder related to Horton’s death.
“Sweet, kind and gentle like anyone you’ve ever seen,” Phillip Reams said. Reams, who is Horton’s neighbor, said Horton was known to be very active.
Deputies received a call before 8 p.m. from a family member who returned home to find the place ransacked.
A vehicle was later found not far from the house on Lewis Winstead Loop Road.
“You see her mowing the grass, blowing the leaves,” Reams said. “For someone her age, she’s done very well being active in the yard.”
Horton, also known as “Nan”, was a longtime member of the independent New Life Baptist Church.
“A godly woman, a very virtuous woman,” Pastor Mike Whitt said. “She adores her grandkids, oh my. The time she spent with them, carrying them back and forth to the beach, and things like that.”
Whitt said Horton was a pillar of the community.
“Just a staple and part of the foundation of this community and this church,” Whitt said.
The church had a revival when congregants heard of Horton’s death.
“We found out right after our service and people were crying and broken,” Whitt said.
Wednesday’s wake-up party turned into a 7 p.m. wake service in Horton’s honor.
“We’re gonna cry for a while, we’re gonna sing for a while,” Whitt said. “We are going to come together in unity and embrace, love each other, try to release all of this anger and these feelings and find comfort in God and each other in this community tonight.”
Whitt, who met the family on Wednesday, said they were broken as they tried to figure out what happened.
“We were finally able to go home with the family and just pray with them throughout the house, just trying to get by,” Whitt said. “We tried to love them, to comfort them, to be there for them and to encourage them to have hope after this, but we have to give them strength right now.”
Other churches, such as Salem Methodist Church in Hurdle Mills, joined in thoughts and prayers for the family.
“It’s sad and awful,” Reverend Curtis Hammock said. “In light of recent events, this isn’t the first incident here in the last week, so it looks like there’s a lot going on at the moment.
For Person County residents, the number of reported break-ins occurred more frequently.
“It keeps going, and it’s getting worse,” Reams said. “And it has to stop.”
Reams said Horton also owned the store across the street from her home with her late husband. Horton has two sons and several grandchildren, according to Reams.
“My heart goes out to the family and hope the boys can handle this as best they can and the grandkids,” Reams said.
Horton’s friends and loved ones gathered to share their memories of his Wednesday night at New Life Baptist Church.
Rhonda Clayton said she knew Horton from the grocery store and said they’ve known each other for 25 years.
“It’s just amazing. When things like this happen, you never know it’s going to happen,” Clayton said. “That woman was as good as she could be and you know, I don’t know how anyone could not love that woman. People have to do better in this world or we’re all going to fall apart one day.”
Ann Pergerson, who was a friend of Horton’s, said she last saw her on Monday morning when Horton brought her salad. She said she and Horton did everything together, including shopping, eating and gardening.
“She was just a good person, good for everyone, I don’t think she had an enemy in the whole world, that’s what’s so insane about it,” Pergerson said. “We just have to deal with it even though God knows what he’s doing. He’s still in charge.”
“Ms. Nan Horton was a member of this church, she was part of the founding of this church. She and DC (Nan’s husband) have been here since the day our doors opened over 17 years ago.” said Pastor Mike Whit. “She was the greatest, sweetest, most loving and divine woman I have ever met in my entire life.”
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