FBI goes door to door looking for new leads

By: Annick Joseph - Staff report
Christina Bennett
Megan Oxendine
Rhonda Jones
Megan Oxendine

LUMBERTON — The Federal Bureau of Investigation hasn’t dropped its investigation into the deaths of three women whose bodies were found in east Lumberton between April and June of 2017.

Agents were seen earlier this month pounding the pavement and knocking on doors along Fifth, Eighth and Peachtree streets near where the bodies were found.

“Just part of the ongoing investigation,” Shelley Lynch, FBI Charlotte Division Public Information officer, said Friday. “We continue to ask the public to come forward with information to determine how each woman died.”

Rhonda Jones was found dead outside a house on East Fifth Street on April 18, 2017. Christina Bennett was found dead the same day in a house on Peachtree Street. Megan Oxendine was found dead outside a house on East Eighth Street on June 3, 2017.

A $30,000 reward for information that helps investigators determine the cause of each woman’s death was announced during a press conference nearly three months ago.

“We are still offering the reward,” Shelley said.

During that press conference, Lumberton Police Chief Mike McNeill said he was committed to finding answers and urged “the people of Lumberton” to help with the investigation.

“As police chief and as a member of this community, I want to know what happened to Christina, Rhonda and Megan,” McNeill said. “I also understand there is a lot of uncertainty, concern and even fear right now.”

As of Friday afternoon, autopsy results and toxicology reports on Jones, Bennett and Oxendine had not been completed, according to the state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

Investigators believe the deaths are related, but the investigation has been stalled by the lack of the medical examiner’s reports and the absence of fresh leads.

“There are so many unknowns, that’s why, we don’t know what we are dealing with,” Lumberton police Capt. Terry Parker said in January. “We don’t know if it’s a homicide. We just don’t know.”

The Lumberton Police Department requested the FBI’s help in June of last year. The FBI routinely helps local law enforcement when the agency’s tools, techniques or tactics can be of benefit.

Investigators are asking anyone who came into contact with the women to come forward and help them create a timeline of when and where they were last seen alive. Anyone with information should call the FBI at 704-672-6100 and press No. 2. The Lumberton Police Department can be reached at 910-671-38.

The discovery of the bodies, all of which were badly decomposed, set off concerns that they might be the work of a serial killer, but law enforcement officers have told The Robesonian privately that they are skeptical. All three of the women were known drug users, fueling speculation that they might have overdosed on drugs.

Christina Bennett
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_Reward_1201839162513112.jpgChristina Bennett

Megan Oxendine
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_Christina-Bennett201839162615218.jpgMegan Oxendine

Rhonda Jones
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_Rhonda-Jones201839162815446.jpgRhonda Jones

Megan Oxendine
https://www.robesonian.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/web1_Megan-Oxendine201839162925537.jpgMegan Oxendine

Annick Joseph

Staff report

Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected] or Facebook Annick MultiMedia Journalist.

Reach Annick Joseph by calling 910-416-5165 or via email at [email protected] or Facebook Annick MultiMedia Journalist.