AP NEWS

Son of slain Fuquay woman hopes new search warrant finally solves mother’s death

March 14, 2019
Sandra Denise Thomas

Authorities are searching for DNA evidence to help solve the murder of a 41-year-old Fuquay-Varina woman whose body was found along the side of a road in 2011, according to a search warrant released Tuesday.

Sandra Denise Thomas was found by a passerby along Lawrence Street on March 29, 2011.

The medical examiner said Thomas suffered several injuries to her head, torso, arms and legs, suggesting she was either dragged or thrown from a moving vehicle. However, nobody has been charged in her death.

Jarquez Thomas was only 11 years old when his mother was killed.

“When I got home, the whole street – everybody – was at my house,” Jarquez Thomas said Wednesday. “I didn’t know what was going on. Everybody was crying, and I didn’t see my mother.”

According to a search warrant filed this month, Fuquay-Varina police want to examine a 1988 Chevrolet pickup belonging to an Apex man in connection with the crime.

Authorities said Sandra Thomas was last seen at a house party on the night of her death and that she used a friend’s cellphone to contact the owner of the truck while there.

During the phone call, she arranged to meet with the person on the other end and left the party on foot, walking in the direction of Lawrence Street, the application for the search warrant said.

The owner of the truck, who is not being identified because he has not been charged with a crime, confirmed to police that he received a call from Sandra Thomas on the night of her death. According to the warrant application, the pair had planned to meet, but he fell asleep when she failed to arrive.

“People know stuff,” Jarquez Thomas said. “People know what’s going on, but nobody says anything.”

The warrant authorizes a search of the man’s truck in an attempt to analyze a paint sample to determine if it matches vehicle paint chips found on Sandra Thomas’ clothing at the time of her death.

Investigators said in the warrant application that the paint found on Thomas’ clothing has “similar paint chip characteristics” to the paint on the man’s truck.

Authorities said they also plan to search the truck’s interior and exterior to find any DNA evidence that could be connected to Thomas’ death.

“I think that’s wonderful news for the community because everybody’s life matters,” Darrell Cunningham, a neighbor of the Thomas family, said Wednesday. “For that to have happened and, eight years later, they finally have a suspect or someone of interest, I think that’s wonderful.”

“It really lets me know that people still care,” Jarquez Thomas said. “They’re still out here looking. People are out here searching even though it’s been eight years. It could be another year until they find out, [but] it doesn’t matter as long as someone lets us know something.”

He said he often walks along Lawrence Street where his mother died and that she’s still remembered by the community.

“Everybody loved her. Everywhere I go, it’s, ‘Your mother brought a smile everywhere,’” he said.

A $5,000 reward has been offered for information that leads to an arrest in Sandra Thomas’ death.