Barely out alive: Local woman escapes would-be killer

Published 9:58 am Friday, February 17, 2023

(Update: A previous version of this story indicated that Nance was facing attempted murder charges. Currently, his charges are for first-degree kidnapping and assault.)

What seemed like a chance encounter with a new person turned into a harrowing account for one local woman who chose to trust a stranger. She narrowly escaped with her life after being held at knifepoint, and the man, who is now in custody, faces kidnapping and assault charges.

Rowan County Sheriff’s deputies were reportedly called by a female who indicated that she had been attacked by Hunter Chase Nance, 24, of China Grove.

According to a release from the RCSO, Nance approached the unidentified female at a local gas station on Wednesday and exchanged phone numbers with her.

Later in the day, Nance offered to pick her up and bring her back to his home, to which she agreed. Authorities report that when they walked inside, Nance “locked the door and attacked her with a knife.”

The woman fought back and got the knife away from her attacker but suffered cuts on her hands in the process. She was able to escape the residence.

Nearby citizens called to report an injured woman walking on the roadway prompting the response from law enforcement and emergency medical responders.

The investigation led deputies back to Nance as a suspect. They found him at his home on Peaceful Lane outside China Grove and took him into custody. Revelations unearthed during interviews with Nance turned gruesome.

Nance initially faced charges of false imprisonment and assault with a deadly weapon, but as deputies spoke with him further, they learned he intended to ultimately kill the girl.

The Sheriff’s Office’s Criminal Investigations Division was requested to assume the investigation. During an interview with a detective, Nance admitted that he chose the female randomly and wanted to kill her for the thrill.

He described his plans, including mutilating her and leaving her body for passing cars to see. Nance also expressed interest in cannibalism and the desire to kill others to the detective.

An additional charge of first-degree kidnapping was obtained, and Nance is currently being held under a $600,000 secured bond.