|Evidence found of ‘violent event’ that preceded Heather Hodges’ disappearance|
Monday, June 18, 2012
By K.A. WAGONER - Staff Writer
The search for Heather Hodges, the Rocky Mount mother who has been missing since April 9, has been elevated to a criminal investigation, according to Franklin County Sheriff Bill Overton.
"We have found forensic evidence that Heather Hodges' disappearance was preceded by a violent event," said Lt. Todd Maxey at a press conference Monday morning. "We do have a person of interest in the case."
Maxey declined to identify the person of interest or provide details about the evidence and a search warrant that was executed in connection with the case. The search warrant has been sealed by the court.
Overton said the person of interest appeared to be cooperative in the beginning of the investigation but has now given several different accounts of circumstances surrounding Hodges' disappearance.
"We are concerned that this individual's stories keep changing," Overton said.
The sheriff's office wants to keep the public informed, Overton said, but does not want to jeopardize a possible criminal prosecution.
During the press conference Monday, Overton said he also wanted to dispel rumors that have been circulating on social media websites.
"We do not know whether Heather Hodges is alive or deceased," he said. "We have not found a body."
"This has been a frustrating case," Overton added. "We had hoped to have found Heather Hodges by now."
Now 66 days into the investigation, Maxey said investigators have been treating the case as a major crime since the beginning, even though it was classified as a missing person.
"We didn't want to miss anything," Maxey said.
"We are still hoping to bring Heather home to her family, but after 66 days, the outlook is getting grim," Maxey added.
No one has been in contact with Heather Hodges since she was last seen by her boyfriend, Paul R. Jordan II, at the house they share on Shady Lane in Rocky Mount about 10:30 p.m. on April 9, according to Overton. Jordan reported Heather Hodges missing.
Jordan, 39, told investigators that he left the house for about 10 minutes and was unable to locate Hodges when he returned.
Heather Hodges did not take any of her personal belongings with her, and her vehicle is not missing, Overton said. Heather Hodges has left home in the past but not for this long and not without contacting family members, he added.
Heather Hodges has blonde hair and blue eyes. She is 5 feet, 1 inch tall and weighs about 100 pounds.
Anyone with information is urged to contact the sheriff's office at 483-3000 or the anonymous crimeline at 483-6620.