Man Arrested in Killing of 1 of 6 Women Found Murdered in Rural North Carolina

Authorities have arrested a man in the killing of one of six women found murdered in recent years in a poor, rural North Carolina county.

Antwan Maurice Pittman, 31, was charged with murder in the death of 28-year-old Taraha Senice Nicholson, according to WRAL. He was last known to have lived in Rocky Mount, N.C.

The six women have all turned up dead in Edgecombe County in the past four years.

Nicholson's remains were found March 7 along a county road and an autopsy showed she had been strangled, WRAL reported. She'd been reported missing a few weeks earlier, on Feb. 22.

Pittman was already in jail after an Aug. 12 arrest for allegedly driving with a revoked license and failing to register as a sex offender.

The bodies of Jarniece Latonya Hargrove, 31; Melody LaShae Wiggins, 29; Ernestine Battle, 50; and Jackie Nikelia Thorpe, 35, were found in the same area; a sixth discovered in February hasn't yet been identified. There have been no other arrests in the killings.

Pittman was convicted in Edgecombe County in 1994 for indecent conduct with a 2-year-old, assault and resisting arrest, WRAL said. He'd also been charged with solicitation of prostitutes — but that was later dropped — and other offenses.

The victims were all black women from Rocky Mount with criminal pasts and a history of drug use. Pittman spent much of the last 15 years in the area.

Three other women with similar backgrounds, Christine Marie Boone, Renee Joyce Durham and Yolanda Renee Lancaster, still are missing. Investigators believe their cases may be connected to the six murders.

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