LUMBERTON — The decomposing bodies of two females that were found Tuesday in East Lumberton have not yet been identified, and police are warning against speculation, especially on social media.
“Once we find out the names we will let you know as soon as possible,” Police Chief Michael McNeill said Thursday. “But we as a police department are not certain on both and we are not going to say until we are certain.”
The grisly finds were discovered Tuesday, one inside an abandoned home at 505 Peachtree St. that has been a hang-out for prostitutes and drug users, and another that had been placed inside a trash can at 702 E. Fifth St.
Both women had been dead for some time, and one body was so badly decomposed that the gender was not immediately apparent.
McNeill spoke about rumors on social media, and advised people not to post information online.
“A lot of people are speculating that these people were prostitutes, you can’t do that. We don’t know that about these people,” McNeill said.
On Tuesday, law enforcement officers were drawn to the scene by an odor emanating from the Peachtree Street house.
While police officers, State Bureau of Investigation agents and an investigator from Robeson County District Attorney’s office were processing the scene, a person among a crowd that had gathered to watch discovered the second body in the trash can on East Fifth Street. Officers then secured that area and worked both scenes.
The bodies were taken to the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s office for autopsies. The results of those autopsies were not available Thursday.
Robeson County tax records show that the parcel of land on which the house stands encompasses the block between East Fifth, Peachtree, East Seventh and Willow streets. The parcel is owned by local attorney Woodberry L. Bowen, according to public records.
Bowen said that he was planning to refurbish and rent the house. He pointed out that the home was freshly painted.
After the discovery, police boarded up all entry points to the home. Trash is scattered throughout the yard.
Bowen owns multiple properties in the area, and said that renting the homes has been difficult because of criminal behavior in the area, including prostitution.
City officials recently addressed the issue of vagrants in the area by installing a high-powered flood light.
Reach Mike Gellatly at 910-816-1989 or via Twitter @MikeGellatly