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SHERIFF: Relative Charged In Elderly Woman's Murder

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The sheriff says a distant relative has been charged in the murder of an elderly Bertie County woman.

Sheriff John Holley said 32-year-old Aaron Riddick has been charged with murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon.

The body of Bessie White was discovered last Tuesday evening in her home on Highway 45 between Colerain and Merry Hill. An autopsy said the 80-year-old woman had been stabbed.

Holley says money was a motive in the murder. He said Riddick, who has a Colerain address, grew up in the same community with the victim and called her "Ma Bessie."

An arrest warrant states Riddick took $400 in cash from the woman and used a knife with an eight-inch blade to kill her.

The woman's body was found after fire ripped through her home on Highway 45 between Colerain and Merry Hill. The sheriff says that fire began when a kerosene heater tipped over. He would not say how or when it tipped over.

White's funeral was Wednesday afternoon.

The Department of Public Safety says Riddick served just under six years starting in 2003 for first degree burglary and two counts of larceny from a person. He was paroled in 2009.


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WITN News has learned there has been an arrest in the murder of an elderly Bertie County woman.

80 year old Bessie White was discovered last Tuesday evening in her home on Highway 45 between Colerain and Merry Hill.

An autopsy showed the woman had been stabbed.

Sheriff John Holley said there has been an arrest in the woman's murder, but said additional details would be released shortly.

WITN has a reporter headed to Windsor to get additional information on this developing story.


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Authorities say an elderly woman found dead in her burned out home had been stabbed.

80 year old Bessie White was discovered Tuesday evening in her home on Highway 45 between Colerain and Merry Hill.

Bertie County Sheriff John Holley tells WITN that White was discovered face down in her den with debris on top of her body. A pathologist says she was found with stab wounds.

Firefighters say when they arrived around 8:40 p.m. flames were coming through the center of the house. Some 30 to 35 firefighters battled the blaze.

The sheriff says there are no possible suspects and urges the community to keep their eyes open.

Holley says, "I still would like everyone to know what happened in this area. I advise more deeper into the investigation. I just wanted everyone in the community to know what has happened here and to definitely keep their eyes and ears open."

White's family described her as a mother of the church, saying she served the community of Merry Hill where she was a lifelong resident.

The sheriff says he has known White since he was a little boy and will find the individual who did this.


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Bertie County Sheriff John Holley says the death of Bessie White in a house fire is being investigated as a homicide.

White lived on Highway 45 between Colerain and Merry Hill. Her house caught fire on Tuesday.

Sheriff Holley says the medical examiner is conducting an autopsy on the body.


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