Memorial Service For Murdered Mom Held Saturday In Kinston

A memorial service for a missing Kinston mom who authorities say was found dead in Texas was held in Kinston Saturday.

The service for Laura Ackerson began at 2 p.m. at Grace Fellowship church on Academy Heights Road in Kinston.

That's the same church where Ackerson had been attending weekly prayer sessions and where the members then started praying for her once she disappeared.

During the service a member of Laura’s church family said Ackerson was a single mother who adored her two children. He said there was a time when Ackerson came to the church family, humbly teary eyed as she discussed her custody battle with her children’s father.

One of Ackerson’s best friends cried while she spoke of Ackerson and how much she will miss her.

One of Laura’s professor’s from school said, “It was a sad day for a woman’s life that was cut tragically short.”

Ackerson's ex-boyfriend and father of her children, Grant Hayes, and his wife Amanda are charged in her death. Authorities say they dismembered Ackerson's body and dumped it in a Texas creek. They're being held without bond.



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Reports say the father of a murdered mother from Kinston is considering seeking the custody of his daughter's two young sons.

The father of Laura Ackerson, Roger Ackerson, told WWMT-TV in Grand Rapids, Mich. that he has looked into gaining custody of the one year old and three year old boys. The children are said to be currently staying with the parents of Grant Hayes, who live in Kinston.

The boys were at the center of a contentious custody dispute between Laura Ackerson and Grant Hayes for the past year.

Roger Ackerson also told WWMT-TV that he planned to bury his daughter in Michigan. A memorial service is planned for Laura in Kinston Saturday. The service will be at 2 p.m. at Grace Fellowship Church on Academy Heights Rd. in Kinston.



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Funeral arrangements are now set for the missing Kinston mom who authorities say was found dead in Texas. Laura Ackerson's brother Jason says her funeral will be this Saturday at 2:00 p.m. at Grace Fellowship in Kinston. That's the same church where she had been attending weekly prayer sessions and where the members then started praying for her once she disappeared.

Ackerson's ex-boyfriend and father of her children, Grant Hayes, and his wife Amanda are charged in her death. Authorities say they dismembered Ackerson's body and dumped it in a Texas creek. They're being held without bond.



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A specialized dive team has finished searching for the remains of a Kinston mother that police say was murdered by her ex-boyfriend and his wife.

Crews searching the Oyster Creek in Fort Bend County, Texas, for the remains of Laura Ackerson say they found nothing in their search Tuesday. However, crews believe there is more to find, according to the NBC affiliate in Houston.

Investigators say the body is so decomposed that it may not be possible to determine how Ackerson died.

Raleigh Police Spokesman Jim Sughrue said the remains found in Oyster Creek have been positively identified as Laura Ackerson.

The Kinston woman was last seen July 13th after she dropped her two young children off at their father's Raleigh home. That father, Grant Hayes, and his wife Amanda, went before a district court judge for their first court appearance this afternoon on murder charges.

The judge ordered the two held without bond.

Grant Hayes and Amanda Hayes were brought in separately for their hearing on Tuesday in Wake County. In addition to being held without bond, a judge appointed a public defender to represent them, although they may hire an attorney if they choose.

A probable cause hearing is scheduled for Aug. 16.

They were arrested in Kinston early Monday morning at the home of Grant Hayes' parents. Police say at the time of their arrest the victim's two young children were at the home. The one and three year old boys were assessed by Child Protective Services personnel and released to family members.

Nevada state records show that Grant and Amanda Hayes were married in Las Vegas on April 19th, 2010.

Ackerson's remains were found Sunday in Fort Bend County, Texas in a creek near the home of Amanda Hayes' sister.



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Authorities believe a Kinston woman was killed and dismembered in North Carolina before her body was dumped in a Texas creek.

What are believed to be the remains of Laura Ackerson were found in Oyster Creek on Sunday. The body has not yet been positively identified.

Chief Deputy Craig Brady with the Fort Bend Sheriff's Office tells WITN News that Grant Hayes and his wife Amanda bought a number of ice chests and rented a U-Haul in North Carolina. Brady says they believe the two drove the dismembered body to Oyster Creek, where Amanda Hayes' sister lives.

The 32-year-old Hayes and his 39-year-old wife were arrested at early this morning at his mother's home in Kinston. Hayes is the father of Ackerson's two young children.

The two were booked into the Wake County jail this afternoon. Arrest warrants say Ackerson was murdered in Wake County on July 13th.

Click the link at the top of the story to read both murder warrants.

The chief deputy says Raleigh police contacted them after they learned the two had made a trip to Texas and that Hayes' wife had a sister in the area. He says a machete and ice chests were found near the sister's house.

Dive teams are still looking for the rest of the body and Brady says positive ID may be made through DNA.

Ackerson, a mother of two, was last seen July 13th when she dropped off her two children at Hayes' home in Raleigh. Lenoir County court documents say the two were involved in a contentious child custody battle.

The two will appear before a judge Tuesday in Wake County.



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Raleigh police say the ex-boyfriend of a missing Kinston mom and his wife were arrested early Monday morning and charged with murder.

Police said 32-year-old Grant Hayes and 39-year-old Amanda Hayes were arrested at 1505 Holman St. in Kinston. The two were arrested at 1 a.m. Monday, according to police. The Lenoir County Tax Department says the property is owned by Grant Hayes and Patsy Hayes. Patsy is Grant's mother.

Grant and Amanda Hayes live in Raleigh. It was at their home where Laura Jean Ackerson was last seen on July 13, dropping off her two boys. Grant Hayes is the the father of the children.

The arrest follows the discovery a woman's remains in Fort Bend County, Texas Sunday. A deputy there told WRAL that Raleigh detectives believe the remains belonged to Ackerson. No official police identification has been made.

Raleigh police said Sunday that some of their detectives had traveled to Texas to continue investigating Ackerson's disappearance. It's not clear what led them out of state. Texas authorities now say the remains were found near the home of a relative of Grant Hayes' wife, Amanda.

Hayes had primary custody of the two boys from his relationship with Ackerson. A judge granted Hayes emergency temporary custody in June 2010. Hayes claimed Ackerson was unfit for sole custody. The custody dispute was still going on at the time of Ackerson's disappearance. The next scheduled court hearing was supposed to be in August.

Here is a time line of how the disappearance of Ackerson has unfolded so far:
July 13: last reported sighting of Ackerson, dropping off her two boys at the Raleigh home of Grant Hayes, the father of the children.
July 15: Ackerson fails to meet Hayes to get the boys back at their appointed meeting place in Wilson, according to Patsy Hayes, the suspect's mother. She reports he was "surprised" Ackerson did not show up.
July 18: Ackerson's co-worker reports her missing to Kinston police. Police alert the media.
July 20: Raleigh police locate Ackerson's car in an apartment complex parking lot, find no evidence of foul play in the vehicle. Raleigh police take over the investigation.
July 24: Officials in Texas find human remains in a creek in Fort Bend County. Raleigh police announce detectives have traveled to Texas. Reports say officials believe dismembered remains belong to Ackerson.
July 25: Raleigh police announce the arrests of Grant Hayes and Amanda Hayes at a location in Kinston.



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Authorities believe the remains of a woman found Sunday outside of Houston, Texas are those of a missing mother from Kinston, that's according to WRAL.

According to officials Laura Jean Ackerson was last seen after she dropped off her children at their father's house in Raleigh on July 13th.

WRAL reports that Chief Deputy Craig Brady said that Raleigh police detectives traveled to Texas to look for Ackerson.

Brady told WRAL it appears Ackerson was killed in North Carolina and that her body was taken to Texas. Brady said the remains were dismembered.

WTVD is reporting that Ackerson traveled to Houston to visit family, near where remains were found.

A suspect has been detained, but authorities have not released the person's name.

Family and friends have said that she and her sons' father were involved in a custody battle.



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Raleigh police have released two surveillance photos of a missing Kinston mother, recorded last Wednesday morning, July 13.

Laura Ackerson was last seen later that evening after she dropped off her two children at their father's Raleigh home. Police will not say where the surveillance photos were taken that morning.

They do say she was wearing a brown sleeveless blouse and tan Capri pants. She had a black leather bag with white lettering and was carrying a brown Liz Claiborne purse.

Click on the PHOTOS tab to view the surveillance pictures.

Police say they believe Ackerson's hair is shorter and darker than shown in a photo of her circulated earlier this week.

Raleigh police took over the investigation after the woman's vehicle was found July 20th at a Raleigh apartment complex.



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Raleigh police say they have found the vehicle of a missing Kinston mother.

Police say Laura Ackerson's 2006 white Ford Focus was discovered near 5400 Summit Manor Lane in Raleigh this morning.

At the request of Kinston police, Raleigh police have assumed the lead role into the woman's disappearance. She was last seen in Raleigh a week ago dropping her two young children off at their father's home.

Ackerson is described as a white female who is approximately 5 feet 8 inches tall and weighs about 135 pounds. She has brown hair and hazel eyes.

Raleigh police say at this point their investigation has not produced evidence that foul play was involved in Ackerson’s disappearance.



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Police in Raleigh have now taken over the investigation into the disappearance of a mother from Kinston.

Laura Ackerson was last seen a week ago when she dropped off her two children at their father's home in Raleigh.

Kinston police spokesman Woody Spencer says Raleigh took over the case, but is sure his department will help if requested.

A police report says a friend reported Ackerson missing after the woman failed to pick up her children on Friday.

Relatives say those children are one and three years old and the two would meet in Wilson to exchange them every Friday.

Police say Ackerson drives a 2006 white four-door Ford Focus, with the license plate ZTL-7433.

Ackerson owns a restaurant marketing business based in Kinston, as well as operating a web design and graphics company.



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A woman is missing, and Kinston police are asking for your help to find her. The police departments in Wilson and Raleigh are also assisting in the search for Laura Jean Ackerson, age 27 of Kinston. She was last seen on July 13 at approximately 9:30 p.m. when she dropped off her two children at their father's home in Raleigh.

Kinston Police Commander Jennifer Canady says Ackerson is always concerned about her children and has no prior history of disappearing, which is why they're saying this disappearance is suspicious.

A police report says a friend reported her missing after the woman failed to pick up her children on Friday.

Relatives say those children are one and three years old and the two would meet in Wilson to exchange them every Friday. The grandmother tells WITN News that the two were never married and this past Friday her son waited 1-1/2 hours and Ackerson never showed up.

Police report Ackerson drives a 2006 white four-door Ford Focus, with the license plate ZTL-7433.

The police report says Ackerson owns a restaurant marketing business based in Kinston, while another website says she also operates a web design and graphics company.

If you have any information on the location of Ackerson, you are asked to call (252)939-3160.


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