ECU Student Survives Attack, Parents Murdered

Whitley French, a student at East Carolina University, was attacked in her parents

(WXII picture)

An ECU student survived an attack that killed her parents at their Rockingham County home over the weekend.

Deputies say the husband and wife were shot to death and their daughter stabbed in an apparent home invasion.

Authorities said officers were called to the home in Reidsville around 2:00 a.m. Saturday morning where they found 48-year-old Douglas French and his 45-year-old wife, Ladonna, dead.

Investigators say the couple's 19-year-old daughter, Whitley French, was stabbed and taken to the hospital. East Carolina University confirms French is a freshman nursing student. During the 911 call, French can be heard giving CPR to her father.

An ECU spokeswoman tells WITN that the university is offering counseling to French's friends on campus and is reaching out to her as well.

Investigators are trying to determine why the couple was attacked and identify a suspect. Deputies say a man in dark clothes was seen running from the home.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Peppa on Feb 22, 2012 at 07:59 PM
    Why would they leave a witness? Did they run out of bullets so decided to inflict a non life-threatening would to an eyewitness? There's some explaining to do. There is more to this than meets the eye. I wouldn't be surprised if I saw this on an episode of Snapped.
  • by B Location: Greenville on Feb 16, 2012 at 01:05 PM
    What does Eve Carson have to do with this case?
    • reply
      by Formerly O.L.I. on Feb 16, 2012 at 03:02 PM in reply to B
      Nothing.
  • by RUKidding on Feb 16, 2012 at 12:21 PM
    I wouldn't count on Whitley returning to classes at ECU in the next 20-to-life.
  • by dee on Feb 16, 2012 at 08:02 AM
    The parents were shot dead and she was only stabbed and survived? Not saying the daughter had anything to do with it, but the attacker is someone she knows or he or she knows the family?
  • by FYI Location: ENC on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:25 AM
    Search warrant info: Warrants Show Items Seized From French Home For Investigation According to warrants investigators took two shotguns and a rifle. They also seized a gun box, but the paperwork says the box was empty. MISSING WAS A 9 MILLEMETER HANDGUN. GTCC Criminal Justice Associate Professor Andy Russell said deputies are leaving no stone unturned. "You want to eliminate weapons that may be on the scene as being possible weapons used in the crime. Just because you need to. Its good police work to eliminate anything that could be used as a weapon on the scene as well as well as to define the weapon if someone took it with them," he stated. Investigators also found and seized: eight spent cartridge casings, four bullet projectiles, one partial projectile case, and one lead projectile. All typical our expert says in helping lead detectives to a weapon or eliminate one. According to the warrants, computers and a cell phone were also confiscated. They stated others may have known Whitley's whereabouts because she texted her boyfriend and posted where she was on social networking sites.
  • by FYI Location: enc on Feb 10, 2012 at 09:57 AM
    The Rockingham County Sheriff issued a statement to media outlets Friday morning in an effort to dispel rumors regarding an arrest in the murders of Troy and LaDonna French. "I have the upmost confidence that my Investigative Team WILL bring whoever is responsible for this heinous crime to justice," said Page in the statement. "It is because of that confidence I can say that WHEN an arrest is made, the media will be notified without delay." "I understand and appreciate the concerns of the citizens, not only in the Bethany area, but throughout Rockingham County; but my Investigative team needs time to examine all elements of this case. This is too important to risk any mistakes by rushing. I would ask the citizens and the media to be patient with us as we continue to investigate this tragedy and seek the person(s) responsible." The statement comes in the wake of comments made on social media saying that an arrest had already taken place.
    • reply
      by Formerly O.L.I. on Feb 10, 2012 at 11:51 AM in reply to FYI
      Yes; just read the actual article. Some interesting facts about what was seized from, and found in, the home have been updated also. I don't think it will be long before an announcement is made. It's sad those two parents are gone, but good that investigators are making quick progress in solving this senseless tragedy.
  • by Concerned Location: ENC on Feb 10, 2012 at 08:14 AM
    I wish WITN would update their story. I found this on one of the local news sites.... www.digtriad.com Warrants Show Items Seized From French Home For Investigation Warrants Show Items Seized From French Home For Investigation According to warrants investigators took two shotguns and a rifle. They also seized a gun box, BUT THE BOX WAS EMPTY. MISSING WAS A NINE MILLIMETER HANDGUN. GTCC Criminal Justice Associate Professor Andy Russell said deputies are leaving no stone unturned. "You want to eliminate weapons that may be on the scene as being possible weapons used in the crime. Just because you need to. Its good police work to eliminate anything that could be used as a weapon on the scene as well as well as to define the weapon if someone took it with them," he stated. Investigators also found and seized: eight spent cartridge casings, four bullet projectiles, one partial projectile case, and one lead projectile. All typical our expert says in helping lead detectives to a weapon or eliminate one. According to the warrants, computers and a cell phone were also confiscated. They stated others may have known Whitley's whereabouts because she texted her boyfriend and posted where she was on social networking sites. WFMY News 2
  • by unknown Location: unknown on Feb 9, 2012 at 08:08 PM
    the truth will make headlines in 2moros paper!
  • by Charlie Location: NC on Feb 9, 2012 at 08:46 AM
    I knew this family personally and believe me, she had/has nothing to do with what happened.
    • reply
      by Formerly O.L.I. on Feb 9, 2012 at 04:48 PM in reply to Charlie
      Do you have any idea who may have done it? It's a pretty serious crime. Take your time, and think carefully.
  • by Val Location: Greenville on Feb 8, 2012 at 09:37 PM
    It is something wrong with this story. If she screamed and scared the intruder the, why did they not shoot her. A cut on the arm?I do hope and pray this young women did not have anything to do with her parent death.
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