03/04/08 — Woman found shot in home

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Woman found shot in home

By Nick Hiltunen
Published in News on March 4, 2008 1:46 PM

FREMONT -- A young Fremont girl came home from school Monday to find her mother dead on the floor of an apparent gunshot wound, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office said.

Silvia Bonitez Morales, 28, was found at home with her son, who is about 3 years old, Wayne County Sheriff Carey Winders said.

Investigators are searching for clues to what happened at the small white frame house northeast of the town. Winders said the case is puzzling.

"He's 3, but he can't talk," the sheriff said of the boy. "Little girl comes home from school and finds her momma on the floor, Daddy gets a call saying that Momma won't wake up," Winders said.

Crime scene officers, detectives and others responded to the Fremont home around 4:17 p.m., Sheriff's Capt. Tom Effler said. The scene was secured to allow investigators to prepare Mrs. Morales' body to be sent to the office of Chief Medical Examiner John Butts in Chapel Hill for an autopsy. Detectives hoped details of how she died will help them solve the case and find out who killed her. Investigators declined to describe the gunshot wound or exactly where inside the house Mrs. Morales' body was found.

Winders said that the home is in a quiet neighborhood, and that neighbors reported that the Bonitez family seemed to be normal, quiet.

"We just don't know yet. It's strange," Winders said.

The sheriff said early reports indicated the woman's husband was at work when he received the emergency call from his daughter.

Effler said investigation into the incident is continuing, and that leads in the case are being followed.

Detective Sgt. Tammy Odom has been assigned as the lead investigator in the homicide, Effler said.

Anyone with any information that might help in the investigation, such as unusual traffic in the area or anything else suspicious is asked to call the Sheriff's Office at 731-1493 or the Wayne County Crime Stoppers hotline at 735-2255.