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Railroad worker discovers remains
Woman reported missing 5 days before body found




Police haven’t closed the case of a 14-year-old murder and continue to look for clues to solve it.

Constance "Connie” Melissa Pender, 35 at the time of her death, was found on Oct. 10, 1997 in a wooded area on Phillips Street. She was reported missing on Oct. 5, just five days prior to her remains being discovered.

Investigators say Pender’s body was found in the 1300 block of Phillips Street near the railroad tracks.

"It was slightly decomposed when she was found,” said Wilson detective

Eric Kearney.

Kearney said Pender’s remains had been in that area two to three days, according to the medical examiner, before she was discovered.

"A railroad worker saw what he thought was a body in the wooded area,” Kearney said. "He flagged down a firefighter who also went to investigate.”

What the pair discovered was disturbing.

Pender’s hands and feet had been bound and she appeared to have suffered a trauma to the head, officials said.

Kearney said, according to the investigation and the autopsy, Pender died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head. He also said the report revealed there was no apparent signs of sexual assault.

Even though the case is 14 years old, Kearney said they haven’t given up on solving Pender’s murder.

Detective Joe Bass, now retired, was the lead detective at the time.

There were no viable suspects developed during the early part of the investigation, officials said.

Anyone with any information should call the Wilson Police Department at 399-2323 or Crime Stoppers at 243-2255.

gina@wilsontimes.com | 265-7821
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