HALLSBORO, NC (WWAY) — Her family thought she was missing for five days, but an elderly woman was found dead in her Columbus County home. Now her grandson is charged with her murder.
Betty Smith Pace, 75, was known as a loving and prideful woman by friends and family. She raised her grandson, Jesse Pace, who is now accused of her murder.
Betty’s son says he never thought his family would have to go through something like this.
“We came and watered the plants last week, my wife did, because we thought she had gone away,” William Barry Pace said.
Though her car was missing, Betty had not left her house in Hallsboro.
“She’d always told me when she would leave,” William said. “And I said, ‘Well, maybe she just didn’t think much of it.'”
After five days with no contact from Betty, Columbus County Sheriff’s deputies found her body Friday night inside her home. An autopsy concluded that the cause of death was a laceration in the front of Betty’s neck. Deputies say her body was also found with multiple stab wounds.
Her grandson, 29-year-old Jesse Pace, was arrested Saturday night and charged with her murder.
“She loved him with all her heart and so did he,” William said of the relationship between his mother and nephew. “I just can’t figure it out.”
Deputies say they found the keys to his Betty’s car and her credit card on Jesse.
“He had a good time with her credit card that whole week,” William said.
Jesse’s uncle says this isn’t the first time Jesse has been in trouble with the law.
“A two-year sentence for selling drugs and possession of a firearm,” William said.
He says the family has always loved Jesse and did everything they could to help him. He says he has already forgiven Jesse, but says he wants to know why his nephew would do such a thing.
Jesse Pace made his first court appearance this afternoon. He is in the Columbus County Jail with no bond.