$5,000 reward offered in death of Orange County woman who took out restraining orders

A woman found dead outside her northern Orange County home Sunday had taken out restraining orders against two men, according to court documents.

An off-duty sheriff’s deputy who lives nearby found Anne H. Kirkpatrick’s body in the front yard at 2509 Brown Road in Hurdle Mills at 1:27 p.m. as he was driving by, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office said in a news release.

The Sheriff’s Office is investigating the case as a homicide.

Alicia Stemper, a Sheriff’s Office spokesperson, said officials aren’t yet releasing how Kirkpatrick was killed.

She also said officials are aware of the restraining orders and are investigating multiple possible suspects in the case.

“We understand the community’s desire to know more information; however, we are unable to provide additional details at this time,” Sheriff Charles Blackwood said in the release. “This is necessary to protect the integrity of the investigation.”

On Sept. 12, the Sheriff’s Office announced a $5,000 cash reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of Kirkpatrick’s killer or killers.

“We have been working this case since Sunday. The kind of work involved in a case like this is complicated, but we will get there,” Blackwood said in a news release. “That said, someone knows something that will help us get there more quickly. Anne Kirkpatrick deserves justice. We want to provide that for her, for her family, and for this community as soon as possible.”

1st restraining order

Kirkpatrick, 46, sought the first restraining order July 19 against a man she had dated, according to court documents.

On July 17 the man became angry “because he thought she was looking at another man in a restaurant,” Kirkpatrick said in court documents. When she got in her car, which the man was driving, he grabbed her “by the wrist and neck,” she said in the documents.

Kirkpatrick jumped into a stranger’s car to hide, and the man left with her car, documents state.

Kirkpatrick was granted a temporary and then year-long restraining order through Aug. 8, 2020.

The order required the man to stay 1,000 feet away from her and prohibited him from possessing or purchasing a firearm, among other restrictions.

The News & Observer attempted to contact the man through a phone number listed in the court file, but a recording indicated it was disconnected or no longer service. The N&O is not naming the man because he has not been charged in this case.

2nd restraining order

Kirkpatrick initiated the second restraining order, against a different man, July 25 and a judge eventually granted her a year-long restraining order with similar conditions as the first one, including the man having to stay 1,000 feet away from her, through Aug. 15, 2020.

Court documents indicate Kirkpatrick said the second man threatened her July 23.

He was hospitalized and a therapist called Kirkpatrick to get more information about recent events, court documents state.

He then called her and said, ‘You better hope I don’t have to stay in here through August 2019,” Kirkpatrick said in the court documents.

Over the past few months, the second man had shown a lot of anger toward her, including “one physical assault where he used the collar of my shirt to attempt to strangle me while pushing me against the wall,” Kirkpatrick said in court documents. “There has been so much emotional abuse and name calling that to say I fear being alone with him is an understatement.”

“I fear for my safety and the safety of my animals as his anger and behavior seems to only worsen,” she said in the documents.

The News & Observer left a message at a number listed for the man in the court file. The N&O is not naming the man because he has not been charged with a crime in this case.

Animals impounded

Five dogs, two white rabbits and two birds at the home were taken from Kirkpatrick’s home because there was no one to care for them, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Other animals, including horses, dogs, ducks, goats and dozens of chickens, remained on the property.

Neighbors and friends of Kirkpatrick contacted Monday morning said they did not know Kirkpatrick well or did not want to share their names with a reporter.

The Sheriff’s Office asks that anyone who saw or heard anything unusual Sunday morning call lead investigator Zach Baldwin at 919-245-2939.

Virginia Bridges covers criminal justice in Orange and Durham counties for The Herald-Sun and The News & Observer. She has worked for newspapers for more than 15 years. In 2017, the N.C. Press Association awarded her first place for beat feature reporting. The N.C. State Bar Association awarded her the 2018 Media & Law Award for Best Series.