RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) – An autopsy says an elderly Bertie County woman was murdered and set on fire in her home nearly a year ago.
Lan Rawls was found dead in her Aulander home on February 20th, while her 62-year-old caregiver, Rochelle Harrell, was critically wounded.
The autopsy says the 80-year-old woman’s arms were bound in tape, and that she had thermal injuries involving 44% of her body. It says Rawls died from asphyxia with smoke inhalation and injuries due to the fire.
Robert Reid, of Covington, Georgia, is charged with first degree murder, first degree forcible rape, attempted first degree murder, two counts of first degree kidnapping as well as other felony charges.
The autopsy says Rawls would leave her door unlocked for the night caregiver to arrive, and then would call her daughter, who lived out of state, to let her know they had locked up for the night.
When that phone call didn’t come, the daughter first called the caregiver and then a nearby relative who found the crime scene.
That relative discovered Harrell “bleeding profusely”, and Rawls dead in the hallway with her body on fire.
There is no date for when Reid will be in court to face the charges.