05/28/08 — Morales murder investigation stalled

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Morales murder investigation stalled

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on May 28, 2008 1:47 PM

Evidence still waits to be processed in the murder of Silvia Morales, the mother of two who was found shot to death in March at her Fremont home.

Detectives are mum, though, on what exactly still awaits processing at the N.C. State Bureau of Inves-tigation labs.

But Wayne County Sheriff's Office Capt. Tom Effler said the case is being actively investigated, despite the holdup for processed evidence collected from the small white frame house in the northeast section of Fremont.

"We're still working on it. We've got some leads. The sheriff (Carey Winders) has even gone out in the last couple of weeks on some interviews," Effler said. "We haven't given up on this case."

Detectives said their perseverance is a message they want conveyed to Wayne County residents as the lead investigator Tammy Odom follows up on the mysterious murder.

Mrs. Morales, 28, was at her Black Creek Road home with her 3-year-old son when she was killed, sometime between 1:15 p.m. and 3:45 p.m. on March 3, authorities have said.

But it wasn't until later, when her 8-year-old daughter came home and called her father, that the crime scene was discovered.

Authorities have said that the son, who was not harmed, is too young to provide any help in the case.

Some close to the case have wondered if Mrs. Morales' murder was perpetrated "at random" -- even though they also have said that is a fairly uncommon characteristic for motives in murder cases.

But since there is still evidence to be processed, detectives say they are not ruling much out.

Early in the investigation, however, they did rule out the woman's husband, saying that his alibi that he was at work at the time of the murder checked out.

The puzzling circumstances surrounding the death of Mrs. Morales have brought forth money from people hoping to help solve the case with a reward.

An anonymous citizen has pledged $5,000 to any person who can provide information that leads to the arrest of Morales' killer.

The Sheriff's Office also put up reward money in the case: $6,000 in addition to whatever local crime hotline Crime Stoppers pays.

Information leading to the arrest of the killer is worth at least $11,000, Effler said.

And so the Sheriff's Office is asking that anyone with information about the case -- even if they think it's trivial or unimportant -- call their office at 731-1481.

People with information may also phone the Crime Stoppers hotline at 735-2255.

For now, though, Effler said the fate of the investigation lays not just in the hands of his investigators, but with whatever returns from the state crime lab.

"We're waiting on something right now, some kind of break," Effler said.