Betts homicide remains unsolved

On March 21, a man walking his dog in the Pine Cliff Recreation Area of the Croatan National Forest stumbled upon the remains of a woman who had been shot several times.

The following day, investigators identified the dead woman as Amelia Betts, 34, of 330 McCotter Blvd. in Havelock.

Nine months later, the homicide remains unsolved.

Betts was a single mother who had left her job as a clerk at the Kangaroo convenience store in Havelock at 7 p.m. the previous evening. Craven County sheriff investigators said that Betts had planned to go pick up her child from the home of her ex-husband in Newport, but she never arrived.

Betts’ car was found in the parking lot of the recreation area, which is located about eight miles from Havelock and down a gravel road off N.C. 306 in eastern Craven County. The parking lot is situated on the Neuse River within a couple of hundred yards of homes in the Cherry Branch subdivision.

Police have interviewed nearby residents, acquaintances of Betts, family members and friends, yet they have announced no suspects and no arrests.

An autopsy report released in October indicated that Betts was shot six times with a 9mm pistol. Seven 9mm casings were found at the scene by investigators. There were no signs of drugs or alcohol at the site and a toxicology report indicated that Betts had no alcohol in her system.

Betts grew up in Tucson, Ariz. She joined the Marine Corps and served at Cherry Point. After a divorce with the father of her daughter, Betts opted to stay in Havelock to be near the child.

Prior to working at the Kangaroo, Betts had worked at Dunkin’ Donuts in Havelock.

The Craven County Sheriff’s Office is asking anyone who may have information about the homicide to call its investigative Division at 636-6632 or Craven County Crimestoppers at 633-5141.

Ellington charged in child’s death

Matthew Braden Ellington was charged Jan. 7 with the beating death of his 3-year-old adopted son.

Ellington, 25, was arrested on charges of murder and intentional child abuse causing serious physical injury in connection with beating the child Dec. 27, 2015, so severely that he died three days after the incident. Ellington was living at Westgate No. 2 trailer park, which is northwest of Havelock near Tucker Creek off U.S. 70. After the alleged beating, the child was taken to Vidant Medical Center in Greenville where efforts were made to save the boy’s life.

Ellington is originally from Florida and had served as a Marine at Cherry Point. Ellington is schedule to next appear in court on Jan. 18.

Heroin overdoses spiral

An increase in opioid-related overdoses caused concerns within the community throughout the year as the abuse of cheap heroin and other additive drugs became available.

Rescue personnel and police noticed a spike in calls to revive people who had taken too much heroin. Several deaths were reported as well. Authorities said that the drug was inexpensive, readily available and often cut with the powerful tranquilizer Carfentanil was contributing to the overdoses.

Of additional concern was that addicts can purchase Narcan, which counters the effects of heroin, leading some addicts to use higher amounts of the opioids knowing that they can be revived in the event of an overdose.