Salisbury police hope to draw attention to cold cases with new website
By Shavonne Walker
SALISBURY — Crischelle Patterson lost her brother Rico Baker in 2008 to gun violence. Eight years later, she lost another brother, Reggie Burke, to the same fate.
She and her family have remained in constant contact with Salisbury Police Department investigators, but said help is still sorely needed to solve “cold cases” like theirs.
This week, the police department launched a cold case section of its website as a way to generate possible information and to remind people of the many unsolved cases. The website’s address is salisburync.gov/Government/Police/Cold-Cases. The 20 cases featured on the site begin in 2002 with a pair of Catawba College students murdered at their Lakewood Apartment complex and go up to present day, with one of the youngest victims being 7-year-old A’yanna Allen, who was shot at her grandmother’s home in December 2016.
“To be honest it’s not just my family. A’yanna as well,” Patterson said. “She was younger than my brothers and my son. She didn’t get to live out her dream because someone took her life unexpectedly. We all need justice.”
In 2017, Patterson’s son, 23-year-old Da’Quan Robertson was shot and killed along with his friend Anthony Gill in downtown Salisbury, almost a year to the day her brother, Reggie Burke, was shot and killed.
Patterson said she’s in regular contact with Detective Travis Shulenberger. She said he even asked for her thoughts about the website. And Patterson said she told him it was a good idea.
“I care, even if it’s 20 years from now. These cases need to be solved instead of unsolved,” Patterson said.
Patterson said, despite some who believe nothing is being done, she knows investigators “are doing their job.”
“They are doing what they can with what evidence and stuff that they do have,” she said.
And Shulenburger said detectives are never satisfied with unsolved homicide cases.
“It would mean a lot to the family, to the community, to the police department to solve some of these cases,” Shulenburger said.
He said the department created the page, in part, to bring more attention to these unsolved cases.
Allen’s case remains at the forefront of many people’s minds in the community, and Shulenberger said police officers want to talk about her case as often as possible.
“That’s a case that has a lot of leads that we really want to get cleared up. There are a lot of people that know about that case and could help us clear it up,” he said.
In the case of 68-year-old William “Billy” Allen Henderson, who was killed on March 19, 2013, at his West Bank Street residence, there’s just not much to go on, Shulenberger said.
Henderson, who mostly kept to himself, was found stabbed at his home by a caretaker.
Other murder victims on the site include the following:
• Jonathan Dillard was murdered while walking in the 800 block of Park Avenue on Aug. 8, 2015.
• Matthew Glen Greear and Walter Frank Long, two Catawba College students, were murdered at Lakewood Apartments on Apr. 25, 2002. Long was shot along with Greear, who was a neighbor. Two others escaped through bedroom windows.
• Sharod Raheen Mathis was shot in the parking lot of 122 S. Avalon Drive, the location of what was then Firewater Lounge, just hours before someone killed A’yanna Allen. Police said the two Dec. 4, 2016, incidents were connected.
• April Cora-Lucille Hall was shot outside her rental home at 212 E. 11th St. and found by her partner on Sept. 24, 2016.
• Reggie Burke was shot in a wooded area at Zion Hills Apartment complex, 1614 Standish St., on July 29, 2016.
• Larry Cruse, who went by the nickname Turtle, was shot while inside his vehicle near the intersection of North Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and East Council Street on May 14, 2016.
• Devon McGee was shot along with his brother while at a party at the JC Price American Legion Post, 1433 Old Wilkesboro Road, on March 5, 2016. Devon McGee died later and his brother Antoine McGee survived the shooting.
• Ah-Mari Ahzenea Lawing, 1, was murdered in an apartment in the 1000 block of East Lafayette Street on June 10, 2015.
• Steven Omari Rosario, 18, was shot during a home invasion at 1006 S. Fulton St. apartment where’d been staying on May 18, 2015. He’d moved to Florida with his family and had recently returned to Salisbury.
• Miguel Urrutia was found shot to death in a vehicle near the intersection of Old Mocksville and Hawkinstown roads on March 7, 2015. Witnesses said someone else was seen getting out of the vehicle and ran from the scene.
• Aaron Vaughn was found by his girlfriend in an apartment in the 700 block of Victory Street, where he’d been shot on Oct. 11, 2014.
• Marquis Feamster was shot while riding in a car in the 300 block of East Fisher Street on July 8, 2014. Police said at the time they believed he was shot by an acquaintance.
• Shanta Lomax was shot in the 900 block of East Lafayette Street on June 23, 2014. He was found behind an apartment complex. He was from Salisbury, moved to Alabama and returned to Salisbury for a visit.
• Richard “Rick” Neri was shot in a vehicle at the intersection of Old Wilkesboro Road and Brenner Avenue on Dec. 7, 2013. Neri was driving a Ford Taurus and had come to a stop at a red light when a dark-colored sport utility vehicle pulled around Neri’s vehicle and fired multiple shots.
• Terry Lark was shot in his home at 226 S. Clay St. on May 23, 2010. The shooting happened as Lark and another man were leaving the house. While they were on the porch, they were approached by two men who were wearing masks. Lark was shot and died later at the hospital.
• Jason Heggins’ body was found in a secluded area off of Old Wilkesboro Road on Jan. 26, 2009. He’d been shot multiple times.
• Rico Baker was shot outside a home at 520 East Cemetery St. on April 15, 2008.
Detective Shulenberger said he believes, even in the cases where there may not have been an eyewitness, someone knows something. In many of these cases, the suspect may have told someone about the act, he said.
“I think it’s human nature to talk. I think killers talk,” he said.
Shulenberger said they do hope to add older cases to the website.
Anyone with information about the cases is asked to contact the Salisbury Police at 704-638-5333, Salisbury-Rowan Crime Stoppers at 1-866-638-5245 or online via http://tips.salisburyrowancrimestoppers.org/.
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