North Carolina Mystery: Woman Missing In Town Where 3 Found Dead

Abby Patterson. Lumberton Police via WNCN.

LUMBERTON, N.C. (CBSNews) — Six months after the bodies of three women were found in different places in Lumberton, North Carolina, police in the town are looking for a 20-year-old who has been missing for a month.

CBS affiliate WNCN reports that police say Abby Patterson was last seen on Sept. 5 getting into a brown Buick near East Ninth Street.

Capt. Terry Parker of the Lumberton Police told CBS News’ Crimesider that investigators do not think that Patterson’s disappearance is related the deaths of Megan Ann Oxendine, 28, Christina Bennett, 32, and Rhonda Jones, 36, who were all found dead in an area between East Fifth and East Ninth streets. WNCN reports that Bennett and Jones’ bodies were discovered April 18 and Oxedine’s on June 3.

Bennett’s body was found in a house. Jones’ body was in a trash can. And Oxendine’s body was behind a house.

Parker said that although autopsies of the women’s bodies have been completed, the bodies were so badly decomposed that a medical examiner has not yet determined their causes of death.

“We aren’t sure if (the three women’s deaths) are related, but we are considering it,” Parker said in June.

The FBI is assisting in the investigation into the women’s deaths. Lumberton, located in between Wilmington and Charlotte, has about 21,000 people.

Parker said that before she disappeared, Patterson had been discharged from drug rehab and come to town to visit her mom. He said she called an acquaintance to pick her up and has not been heard from since. He called the case an “active missing person” investigation and said they have “no information, not even a rumor” that Patterson is deceased.

WNCN reports that authorities are offering a $5,000 reward for information that leads them to Patterson.

She’s described by police as standing 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds, with brown hair and eyes. She has light skin, with a birth mark on the back left thigh and a bird tattoo on her shoulder, police say.