Salisbury man charged with murdering grandmother
By Shavonne Walker
SALISBURY — A 75-year-old Salisbury woman is dead, and Rowan County authorities say her grandson is responsible for her death.
Curtis Wayne Trexler is charged with murder.
Investigators found Joyce Ann Trexler on Monday morning inside her Ellis Loop Road home. She had been “horribly” assaulted, officials said.
Shortly after 5 a.m., Curtis Trexler, 31, called Rowan County 911 to say someone was down and injured in the home at 295 Ellis Loop Road.
“The person on the phone was kinda frantic and had called this in and said he needed some help,” said Rowan Sheriff Kevin Auten.
Investigators found Joyce Trexler dead in the kitchen area of her home from “an obvious horrible assault,” he said. Auten didn’t elaborate, he said, out of respect for the family.
Evidence collected at the home and other places close by led investigators to pinpoint Curtis Trexler, who was the 911 caller, as a suspect, Auten said during an afternoon press conference.
Clerks at Discount Mart just around the corner from the scene of the murder, at the corner of Old Mocksville Road and East Ridge Road, said law enforcement had been there earlier in the day but didn’t comment further.
As to a motive, Auten said Curtis Trexler was not very cooperative or forthcoming with information that detectives believe is truthful.
“He hasn’t confessed. I don’t think what he said is of value. He’s not told investigators the truth,” Auten said.
He added the home did not appear to be ransacked or have items stolen.
“There is some concern our suspect has had some drug problems in the past and even current, so that could be an underlying factor, either drug use or needing money, but other than that it’s just speculation,” he said of a motive.
Auten said Curtis Trexler had been staying at the Ellis Loop Road home for about six months.
Curtis Trexler was on the phone with 911 for quite some time, Auten said, as telecommunicators were trying to get him to perform CPR. He told dispatchers CPR wasn’t working and he “thought she’d passed away.”
Trexler at one point told dispatchers it looked as if his grandmother had fallen and injured herself.
Auten said Joyce Trexler’s injuries were not the result of a fall.
A request for 911 tapes was made by a Post reporter, but officials said 911 tapes would not be released until the case is closed.
Curtis Trexler was taken to Novant Health Rowan Medical Center where he was treated and released for issues not related to the crime, Auten said, “probably more from nerves.”
Trexler has been in the Rowan County jail before, Auten said, “but his only visitor was his grandmother, who he’s now accused of killing.”
“To me that just rips your heart out, someone that looks like she cared about him and this happened to her and at his hands. It’s horrible for a family to go through this,” Auten said.
Neighbor Zane Odom has known Trexler all of his life. He grew up in a home several houses away. He said she was “a very sweet lady, super nice, down to earth, always wanted to help people, never had any problem with anybody.”
Odom said nothing like this has ever happened in the community before.
Early Monday morning, few cars traveled Ellis Loop Road, a short road with rows of houses. Trexler’s is one of the first on the road. The 75-year-old maintained her own yard, planting flowers in the front, Odom said.
A welcome sign written in chalk was affixed near her front door while a vehicle was parked in the circle driveway. Joyce Trexler was written on one side of her wooden mailbox, while husband Wayne’s name was written on the other side.
“It’s really tough to absorb,” Odom said of the law enforcement presence and subsequent investigation.
He woke up and was getting ready to go to the gym when another neighbor told him there was law enforcement and crime scene tape at Trexler’s home.
“She never had qualms with anybody,” Odom said.
When he figured out that Joyce Trexler was dead, Odom said, he was flabbergasted.
“She was a real nice lady. It’s sad, it’s sad for something like this to happen in the community and sad for something like this to happen, period,” he said.
Her husband, Wayne Trexler, who owned Trexler Construction Company, died in 2009 after a short battle with cancer.
Curtis Trexler has two misdemeanor convictions and currently has a pending Cabarrus County case for felony cocaine possession.
He is scheduled for a first appearance in court this morning.
Contact reporter Shavonne Walker at 704-797-4253.
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