Local law enforcement officers are expected to bring a 37-year-old woman back to Sampson County today to face charges in a 2014 murder that, ironically, no one knew occurred until last week.
Felicia Barnes, who Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said was living in northern Sampson County in 2014, was arrested by authorities in Jefferson City, Tenn. earlier this week and held there without bond until officers, who arrived there late Wednesday, could conduct interviews and complete the extradition process.
Barnes is charged in the death of Danielle Alicia Chance, 24, who was also reportedly living in northern Sampson at the time of the murder.
The arrest comes on the heels of an intensive week-long investigation that began after a law enforcement agency outside of of the county received a tip about a possible unreported homicide that might have occurred inside Sampson.
According to information from the Sampson County Sheriff’s Office, county investigators, along with State Bureau of Investigation agents, were able to confirm a murder did occur after finding Chance’s partial remains at an undisclosed location, also in the northern end of Sampson, last week.
Those remains, Thornton said, have been taken to the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Raleigh for further review.
While details are sketchy about how the murder occurred, where it happened and when, the probe into the case, Thornton said, did confirm it took place sometime in 2014.
“Beyond that, we aren’t certain of anything at this point,” the sheriff stressed, noting that the tip led to the intense investigation which pulled in officers from many areas.
“A lot of people from a lot of different agencies have worked long and hard on this case since we learned of the possibility of the murder,” Thornton said when contacted by The Independent late Thursday. “These folks have been hard at it, even working over the weekend. It has been a great effort.”
Thornton said this type of investigation was never easy, but because of the hard investigative work of many, the week-long probe was turning up results, details of which could not be discussed.
“We hope to have more information we can release soon, but right now it’s too early and there are still too many unknowns,” the sheriff pointed out. “We want to do everything we can to protect the integrity of the case. When we have more, we will release it.”
He did offer his thanks to all the officers involved for their tenacity in working the case. “They left yesterday for Jefferson City and I expect them to be back late tonight (Thursday) or early in the morning (Friday). She has been interviewed,” the sheriff confirmed.
Reach publisher and editor Sherry Matthews at 910-249-4612. Follow her on Twitter @sieditor1960; follow the paper @SampsonInd and like us on Facebook.