Durham County

Durham deputies revisiting two unsolved homicides

Sheriff’s detectives on Friday announced they are revisiting the unsolved deaths of two women.

One case involved an older woman found stabbed to death 10 years ago in northern Durham County after attending a church service. The second victim was the mother of five children who went missing not far from her home in East Durham in 2010.

Investigators late Friday afternoon made public photos of the slain women and their homes, with the hope that someone will come forward with information about either case, according to a news release from the Durham County Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s deputies reported that on the evening of Nov. 6, 2005, Rosa Crabtree returned to her home at 411 Chambers Road in northern Durham County after attending a church service. The next morning at about 6 a.m., Crabtree’s son stopped by the small red-brick home to check on her and found that she had been stabbed to death with a pair of sewing scissors inside the home.

Investigators said that there were no signs of forced entry into the home but that it had been ransacked, and Crabtree’s jewelry and a television were missing. Deputies reported that some of the jewelry was strewn throughout the carport and grass along Chambers Road.

In the other case, Wanda Rose Spence-Steele, a mother of five children, was last seen around 2 a.m. June 23, 2010, in the area of Juniper Street and North Hyde Park Avenue, about 150 yards from her home at 1134 Elmo St., detectives reported.

One week later, on June 30, members of a roadside cleanup crew discovered her badly decomposed body wrapped in plastic in the woods along a rural stretch of Old Oxford Highway between Snow Hill Road and International Drive, the detectives reported.

Sheriff’s deputies relied on dental records to identify Spence-Steele’s remains. Investigators never discovered a crime scene, but they are following recent rumors that Spence-Steele or someone close to her may have owed another individual money, according to the news release.

Investigators are asking anyone with information about either case to call the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigation Division at 919-560-0880 or 919-560-0885 or CrimeStoppers at 919-683-1200. All tips are confidential and sources can remain anonymous.

McDonald: 919-829-4533