Stolen laptop linked to murder of North Hills woman

Melissa Huggins-Jones
Melissa Huggins-Jones

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Warrants released Monday in connection with the murder of a North Hills woman indicate a stolen laptop may have helped investigators track down and arrest the suspects.

Michael Rashad McCollum was charged May 22 with possession of stolen goods.
Michael Rashad McCollum was charged May 22 with possession of stolen goods.

Melissa Huggins-Jones was found dead early on the morning of May 14 by her 8-year-old daughter in her apartment at 441 Allister Drive in Raleigh. Investigators say Huggins-Jones died from blunt force trauma, and the suspects tried to burglarize her home.

Last week, Raleigh Police arrested Ronald Lee Anthony Jr., 23, Sarah Rene Redden, 18, and Travion Devonte Smith, 20, in Wake Forest. They were charged with the murder of Huggins-Jones.

While responding to Huggins-Jones’ apartment, warrants say police were alerted to a burglary in the apartment directly below hers. Subsequent forensic DNA evidence linked the burglary to Huggins-Jones’ murder.

Among the items stolen from the apartment below Huggins-Jones was an orange Lenovo laptop, which warrants say was later listed for sale on Craigslist. Investigators reached out to the seller to purchase the laptop, but the seller did not show up to the predetermined location to make the sale.

The seller also deactivated his cellphone.

Investigators then used cellphone records to determine the cell phone number listed with the Craiglist posting was registered to Michael McCollum.

McCollum was charged May 22 with possession of stolen goods. It was not immediately clear how McCollum is connected with the three suspects arrested.

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