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Two charged after missing Raleigh woman found dead in Nash County

Matthew Burns, WRAL.com senior producer/politics editor, & Rosalia Fodera, WRAL reporterMay 23, 2019

A missing Raleigh woman was found murdered in Nash County on Wednesday, and two people have been charged in her death, authorities said.

Sarah Denise Patterson, 51, had been missing since last Thursday after she drove off from a relative’s home in Spring Hope. Nash County Sheriff Keith Stone said one of those relatives killed her.

Cleavon Royster Williams, 44, of 4260 Biltmore Lane in Spring Hope, who is Patterson’s nephew, is charged with first-degree murder and other crimes in her death. He was being held without bond in the Nash County jail.

April June Smith, 41, of the 7200 block of Shady Lane in Spring Hope, who Stone said is a friend of Williams’, is charged with being an accessory after the fact of murder. She was being held under $25,000 bond.

Patterson’s burned-out Honda Accord was found off Pleasant Hill Road in Edgecombe County at about 4 a.m. Wednesday, Stone said.

Her body was found at about 2:30 p.m. about 20 miles away, in a shallow grave off West Old Spring Hope Road, south of Spring Hope, the sheriff said. The location is only a couple of miles from where she was last seen.

Stone didn’t say how Patterson was killed and wouldn’t discuss a possible motive for the crime.

“My heart goes out to the family that anyone’s life could be ended like this,” he said at a news conference. “It’s very disturbing.”

Williams has “an extensive criminal record” that dates to the early 1990s, Stone said.

He served more than 15 years in prison for second-degree murder and first-degree kidnapping in a 1995 slaying in Franklin County. He also has been convicted of sexual battery, assault on a female, drug crimes and theft, according to state Department of Public Safety records.

Patterson’s relatives reported her missing on Monday after she failed to show up for work as a certified nursing assistant on Saturday or Sunday.

A resident of the Pine Winds Apartments complex in south Raleigh, where Patterson lived, said law enforcement officers forced their way into her apartment on Tuesday searching for her.

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