Man arrested after NC mom killed and her boyfriend commits suicide, deputies say

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – A man is dead and another is held on $1 million bond after deputies found a Pitt County mom dead in her truck in Craven County.

Loretta Woolard. WNCT photo
Loretta Woolard. WNCT photo

The Pitt County Sheriff’s Office says 45-year-old Frank Anderson is charged with accessory after the fact for murder, after deputies identified evidence indicating he assisted with concealing murder in the case of missing NC mom Loretta Woolard.

Anderson worked for the a tree removal company owned by the the main suspect, Asia Daniel Vandiford, who had dated Woolard for 20 years, deputies say.

Loretta Woolard’s daughter reported her 49-year-old mother missing on Wednesday afternoon. Around 5 p.m. Wednesday the Craven County Sheriff’s office found Woolard’s body wrapped in a blanket in the back seat of her truck parked in a cemetery near New Bern.

Pitt County deputies questioned her long-time boyfriend, Vandiford, age 62. They say Vandiford shot and killed himself when deputies asked him to go to the Sheriff’s office for further questioning.

“At that point in time he made a comment he needed some water, we kind of said hey man you aren’t going to have a gun on you or anything, and he immediately retrieved a pistol from his pocket and shot himself,” Sheriff Neil Elks said.

Frank Anderson mugshot from Pitt Co. Detention Center
Frank Anderson mugshot from Pitt Co. Detention Center

Investigators are trying to find out exactly what happened to Woolard. They say she didn’t have any obvious injuries or wounds when she was found.

And, hardest of all, the family is still trying to wrap their head around everything.

Woolard and Vandiford lived together in Vanceboro. The two dated for 20 years and community members say the couple had some issues, but family members say that doesn’t mean they didn’t love one another.

Family members gathered together on Thursday to grieve the loved family members.

Both Woolard and Vandiford were parents. Their children and family members say they were amazing people.

Woolard and Vandiford in a photo from WNCT
Woolard and Vandiford in a photo from WNCT

Woolard’s daughter Kelly, says the couple’s love was complicated, but they made it work. She says Vandiford loved her mom more than the air he breathed.

WNCT talked to a number of community members — and everyone in the area knew Loretta and Danny.

Woolard’s son, Christopher Buck says all the support from the community means the world to the family.

“It can’t be put into words, the support that has come from the community, knowing that everybody is there for us, it really it makes you feel, feel good inside,” Christopher Buck said.

Investigators say this is still an active murder investigation, and they are doing all they can to find out what happened and why.

Anderson’s bond was set at $1 million.

A fundraising page has been set up to help cover the costs of Woolard’s funeral.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report

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