Neighbors ‘heartbroken’ over child’s murder, alleged rape in Pender County


PENDER  COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It is a murder that is rocking a small community in Pender County and the suspect is still out there. Last week a 5-year-old child died from injuries following an assault Monday morning.

“A five-year-old had their whole life ahead of them. Now it’s cut short,” neighbor, Bruce Kistler said.

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According to the incident report, the 5-year-old child was last seen Sunday night November 12 at her home on Blackwater Drive in Willard. The child was found the next morning, she had been strangled and raped.

“I couldn’t believe it, I was shocked! You know, it’s something ya just don’t believe. You hear it happening somewhere else but not here,” Kistler said. “It’s not going to happen here.”

According to the incident report, the child was taken to the hospital and died just days later from her injuries.

Neighbors who knew the family said it is heartbreaking. Many of the people WWAY spoke to were left speechless.

“I think they got to be mentally ill or something because, I mean, a 5-year-old child, who, who? I just don’t know what to say,” Kistler said.

While there are many whispers in the once quite neighborhood, Kistler and his wife have their suspicions but can’t be certain.

“Everyone I think of, nah it can’t be them, no it couldn’t be them,” Kistler said. “No, you know?”

Neighbors said this is a “sick crime” and the person responsible deserves the most severe punishment allowed.

WWAY reached out to the Pender County Sheriff’s Office Monday afternoon, a spokesman said they are still investigating and had no comment regarding a person of interest in this case.