PERSON COUNTY, N.C. (WTVD) — Two people have been arrested in connection to a Person County home invasion where a woman was found dead.
It appeared 80-year-old Nancy Horton had been dead for a while after her body was discovered Tuesday night at her home on Burlington Road, according to the Person County Sheriff’s Office. 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 juvenile.
The sheriff said that deputies along with the SBI executed several search warrants at Wilkerson’s home at E. Morehead Street and Pulliam Street. Wilkerson, who was out on bond for another offense, had three warrants already out for breaking and entering of motor vehicles, He was charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, carrying concealed pistol/gun, possession with intent to sell and distribute marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, simple possession of Schedule 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. That evidence led to Wilkerson being charged with murder.
Juvenile petitions have been filed on the other suspect for breaking and entering of motor vehicles and the murder in connection with Horton’s death.
“Sweet, and kind and gentle as anybody you have ever seen,” Phillip Reams said. Reams, who is Horton’s neighbor, said Horton was known to be very active.
Deputies got a call before 8 p.m. from a family member who came home and found the place ransacked.
A vehicle was later found not too far from the house on Lewis Winstead Loop Road.
“You see her mowing grass, blowing leaves,” Reams said. “For somebody her age, she did very well as far as being active in the yard.”
Horton, also known as “Nan,” was a longtime church member at the New Life Independent Baptist Church.
“A godly lady, very virtuous woman,” Pastor Mike Whitt said. “She loves her grandbabies, oh my goodness. The time she spent with them, carrying them places back and forth to the beach, and things like that.”
Whitt said Horton was a pillar in the community.
“Just a staple and part of the foundation of this community and church,” Whitt said.
The church was having a revival when worshippers heard about Horton’s death.
“We found out right after our service and people were just weeping, and broken,” Whitt said.
The revival night on Wednesday changed to a vigil service at 7 p.m. in honor of Horton.
“We’re going to weep for a while, we’re going to sing for a while,” Whitt said. “We’re going to come together in unity and hug one another, love one another, just try to release all of that anger and those feelings and find some comfort in God and in one another in this community tonight.”
Whitt, who met with the family on Wednesday, said they’re broken as they’re trying to process what happened.
“We finally got to go in the home with the family and we just had prayer with them all through the home, just trying to get through it,” Whitt said. “We’ve been trying to love on them, comfort them, be there for them and encourage them that there is hope after this, but we need to get them to have some strength at this time.”
Other churches, such as Salem Methodist Church in Hurdle Mills, joined in with thoughts and prayers for the family.
“It’s sad and gruesome,” the Rev. Curtis Hammock said. “In light of recent events, this is not the first incident here in the last week or so, so there seems to be a lot of it going on right now.”
For Person County residents, the number of reported break-ins has been happening more frequently.
“It’s going on, and it’s getting worse,” Reams said. “And it needs to get stopped.”
Reams said Horton also used to own 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 I hope the boys can deal with this as best they can and the grandkids,” Reams said.
Friends and loved ones of Horton came together to share their memories of her Wednesday night at New life Baptist Church.
Rhonda Clayton said she knew Horton from the grocery store and says they have known each other for 25 years.
“It’s just unbelievable. When things like this happen, you just 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 anybody couldn’t like that lady. People have got to do better in this world or we’ll all crash one day.”
Ann Pergerson, who was a friend of Horton, said she last saw her Monday morning when Horton brought her some salad. She said she and Horton did everything together including shopping, eating and gardening.
“She was just a good person, good to everybody, I don’t think she had an enemy in the whole world that’s what is so senseless about this,” Pergerson said. “We just have to deal with it 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 foundation of this church. Her and DC (Nan’s husband) have been here since the day our doors were opened over 17 years ago.” Pastor Mike Whit said. “She was the greatest, sweetest, lovingest, Godliest woman that I could ever meet in my entire life.”
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