Proutey was a Cape Fear Community College student, hoping to someday become an officer in the Marine Corps. On December 13, 2012, he was leaving work when three young men approached him in the parking lot demanding cash. He gave it to them, but they killed him anyway.
“They would wear ski masks, they would cut phone lines, they would kick in the front door and then they would find the people in the house who knew where things of value were hidden. Drugs, jewelry, guns, and obviously money,” District Attorney Ben David recalled. “And they would literally threaten the lives of the people inside those houses.... torture was frequently involved.”
In some neighborhoods, not cooperating with police is part of the culture. Even though residents living in high crime areas are more likely to become victims of crime, or to be impacted by the crime around them, the “don’t snitch” mentality pervades.
Shannon Rippy Van Newkirk and Elisha Tucker died at the hands of a serial killer. Their lives were cut short by James Bradley, who in 2013 was released from prison in Wilmington after serving time for the murder of his own 8-year-old step daughter.
67-year-old Gail Tice was shot three times by her estranged husband, Robert Hewson. He had scaled the fence of her gated community, and was lying in wait when she came downstairs that morning. Just days earlier, Tice had informed Hewson she wanted to end their marriage, and had a restraining order in place against him.
In 2004, young women living in Downtown Wilmington were on edge. One woman told police she’d been raped by a stranger who broke into her house and appeared to be homeless. More than half a dozen other women living nearby reported a man fitting the same description had attempted to sexually assault them too.
Nearly 20 years after her disappearance, Kynande Bennett has yet to be found. The four-year-old South Carolina girl was reported missing by her parents Sept. 29, 2002. They said she’d been kidnapped from the Whiteville K-Mart.
It was an undercover FBI operation that went on for well over a year in the early 1980s. Dubbed “Colcor” by federal officials, the far reaching organized crime scandal shocked the community with the eventual arrest of over 50 people, including about a dozen public officials.