China Grove karate instructor charged with murder in death of girlfriend
CHINA GROVE — Two brothers will spend the rest of their lives without a mother and father after the death Saturday night of Roxanne Fowler Maddry, 48.
Joey and Derric Maddry lost their father, Gary Maddry, six years ago when he died of natural causes. Saturday, they lost their mother when police say Wayne Eugene Hill, 55, killed her in his home on Poplar Street in China Grove.
Hill, a well-known karate instructor in China Grove, is charged with murder and is being held without bond in the Rowan County Detention Center. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday morning.
Although Maddry has been described as Hill’s girlfriend, a family friend said they had broken up. Dawn Eudy, who is Derric Maddry’s mother-in-law, told the Post that Hill and Roxanne Maddry were no longer a couple.
Roxanne Maddry’s cousin told the Post that Hill had asked Maddry to come over Saturday because he had a gift for her.
China Grove police found Maddry’s car at 124 Poplar St. in China Grove around 7:45 p.m. Saturday after she was reported missing to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
Police found additional items of evidence that led them to believe Maddry was inside the home and possibly injured, Chief Eddie Kluttz said.
Police forced their way into the house and found Maddry, who had died of blunt force trauma, Kluttz said. Officers found no weapon, and there were no visible signs of external wounds, he said.
Despite reports by some neighbors of gunfire Saturday evening about the time of Maddry’s death, she was not shot, Kluttz said.
Authorities began searching for Hill.
Hill wrecked his car about 10 p.m. on N.C. 24/27 at the Stanly-Montgomery County line and fled the scene, Kluttz said. Authorities with both counties and China Grove Police established a perimeter around a wooded area and searched for Hill throughout the night.
At 8 a.m. Sunday, officers located Hill and apprehended him, Kluttz said.
He was transported by EMS, escorted by China Grove officers, to Stanly Memorial Hospital for self-inflicted injuries to his wrists, Kluttz said. Officers brought Hill back to China Grove Sunday afternoon and questioned him for four hours, Kluttz said.
He was then charged with murder and booked into the county jail.
Hill and Maddry dated for years, and police say they have found no history of domestic violence in their relationship, although the investigation continues.
Maddry’s family was in shock Sunday night, a cousin said, still trying to comprehend the loss of the woman he called “a wonderful mother.”
“She was just a totally good-hearted person,” Timothy Fields said from his home in South Carolina. “She was fun to be around and always in a good mood.”
Fields grew up with Maddry and said she had just returned from a vacation at the beach when she went to Hill’s house on Saturday to receive a gift.
Fields said he’s never met Hill but family members had no concerns about him.
“I’m very thankful that the police department acted so fast and could get things under control so quickly,” Fields said.
Without their mother, Maddry’s older son will care for his younger brother, according to Eudy.
Joey Maddry, 17, will move in with older brother Derric Maddry, 23. Derric Maddry is married and has a child, a little girl who was Roxanne Maddry’s only grandchild.
The murder happened in the quiet Mill Hill neighborhood, where row after row of former mill homes stand near the old textile plant.
Neighbors on Sunday morning said Hill has lived on the short dirt road for more than 20 years and was quiet and friendly.
“It’s just a shock,” said Gary Mahan, who lives across the street. “It’s crazy. Crazy.”
Kayla Stubbs said her family have lived behind Hill’s house for more than two decades and gave him fresh vegetables in the summer and the occasional cake.
“You would never see it coming with a guy like Wayne,” Stubbs said. “Such a nice guy.”
Stubbs said Hill and Maddry had been in a relationship for an extended period, and Maddry would often visit him on the weekends.
Stubbs and Mahan said they heard no sounds of a struggle coming from the house Saturday night and were surprised when police arrived, found Maddry’s body and taped off the scene, working the investigation throughout the night and early into Sunday morning.
China Grove officers were assisted on the scene by the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office and SBI, as well as the agencies from Stanly and Montgomery counties.
Anyone with information about Maddry’s death is asked to call Sgt. David Walther at the China Grove Police Department, 704-857-7755.
Contact reporter Emily Ford at 704-797-4264.