LUMBERTON — The person found dead Saturday on East Eighth Street has been identified as Megan Ann Oxendine, a woman who gave a television interview to a Raleigh news station shortly after the discovery of two bodies in similar states of decomposition in April.
The North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office in Raleigh made a positive identification of the 28-year-old woman on Tuesday, Lumberton police Capt. Terry Parker said Wednesday in a press release. Cause and time of death have not been determined.
Oxendine’s last known address was the 700 block of Dwight Road Lumberton. Her badly decomposed body was found in bushes behind an abandoned house at 608 E. Eighth St., about two blocks from where the other two bodies, both female, were found.
Fayetteville Police Department cadaver dogs were in Lumberton on Tuesday searching the area, apparently to see if any other bodies were hidden.
More than 120 houses between East Second Street and East 11th streets and the property around them were included in the search, Police Chief Michael McNeill said.
“The K9 units and their dogs were down here just helping us with our canvases,” McNeill said. “We searched the whole area from Summit Avenue to Cedar Street. From Second Avenue to 11th Street. Mostly around where the bodies were found.”
The dogs and their handlers were accompanied by Lumberton police and Robeson County sheriff’s deputies as they walked up and down each street. The dogs, trained to sniff out dead bodies, alerted once during the search, however the odor detected was that of a dead animal, according to City Councilman John Cantey, who witnessed the search.
McNeill said police are looking for anyone who had contact with the three dead women.
“Anybody who may have known these women, associated with them, had spoken with them,” McNeill said. “Anything about seeing them around.”
The previous bodies were found at 505 Peachtree St. and in a nearby trash can. The women were identified as Christina Bennett, 32, of the 1900 block of Eastwood Terrace, and Rhonda Jones, 36, of Troy Drive, both in Lumberton. A determination has not been made on what killed them.
A reporter from Raleigh-based television station WNCN interviewed Oxendine and identified her by name the day after the bodies were found in April. Oxendine speaks in the video clip about Jones, whom many neighborhood residents believed was one of the victims at the time the bodies were found. Oxendine described Jones as a “sweet and kind person.”
“I don’t understand how people could do, somebody’s child murdered,” Oxendine said.
The WNCN video can be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9HSdC0HAQZA.
Anyone with information concerning any of the three deaths should contact Detective J. White or Detective D. Evans at the Lumberton Police Department 910-671-3845.
Reach T.C. Hunter at 910-816-1974. Staff writer Mike Gellatly contributed to this report. Gellatly can be reached at 910-816-1989 or via Twitter @MikeGellatly