Crime

AWOL Marine charged with murdering his grandmother, NC sheriff says

Isaiah Kahleal Evans Caesar
Isaiah Kahleal Evans Caesar Halifax County Sheriff's Office

Authorities pulled the body of a North Carolina grandmother from a creek Friday and charged her grandson, a Marine who had been AWOL, in connection to her murder.

Authorities in Rocky Mount arrested 18-year-old Isaiah Kahleal Evans Caesar at the Homewood Suites at 231 Gateway Blvd., where he had used his grandmother’s credit card to purchase a room, according to local news reports.

Authorities had been looking for Sallie Copeland Evans, the 74-year-old grandmother from Roanoke Rapids, for several days after her family filed a missing-persons report, ABC 11 reported. Her sister Mattie Copeland Parker said Evans was last seen Sunday evening, according to a Facebook post about Evans' disappearance.

Halifax County Sheriff Wes Tripp said Evans’ body was found off Highway 903 in a creek near her home, CBS17 and WRAL reported.

Caesar was the last person to see Evans alive, investigators said. Deputies found Caeser at a hotel in the Rocky Mount area after he allegedly used Evans' credit card to purchase the room.

Rocky Mount police and sheriff's deputies took Caesar into custody at the hotel, where they found explosive materials in his room, according to The Daily Herald. The hotel was evacuated and the State Bureau of Investigation's bomb removal squad arrived to assist. No bomb was found at the hotel.

Caesar had Evans’ car parked at the hotel, police said. The gold vehicle had been spray-painted black, according to news reports.

Caesar was wanted for desertion from the U.S. Marine Corps, police said. He was stationed with the Marine Corps detachment at Fort Benning, Ga. had been absent without leave since April 2.

Evans’ family told local news outlets that she had been trying to persuade him to return to the military. She had asked her neighbor Willie Patterson to drive her and Caesar to Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, on Tuesday around 11 a.m., according to CBS 17.

"I was looking out my kitchen window waiting on her, and I see the front end of the car,” Patterson told the news station of what he saw after waiting for them for an hour.

“I didn't see who was driving the car. I turned around to go get my glasses and my hat and my umbrella, and went I went out the front door. There was no car. They were gone."

Patterson told ABC 11 it was unusual for her to leave without telling him because she would’ve called him to let him know where she left the keys so he could take care of her three dogs in her absence.

Evans’ family told WRAL Caesar had a fascination for weapons and explosives. The family said they found grenade parts in the grandmother’s home.

In addition to the murder charge, Caesar was served with a fugitive warrant for desertion.

Caesar was being held without bond. His first court date is scheduled for May 16.

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