No clues to escapee’s morbid fate

Kelvin Singleton.jpg

Kelvin Singleton


Staff Writer

Sunday, April 22, 2018

WINSOR — Questions linger in the two-year-old case of a beheaded jail escapee.

Kelvin Singleton, 26, was found decapitated in the rural community of Merry Hill on April 7, 2016. His story is just one of dozens of missing person cases, unidentified bodies and unsolved murders in Eastern North Carolina.

The macabre Easter Sunday discovery made international news. Two years later, Bertie County Sheriff John Holley said his detectives are still investigating the case.

A skull found at a Perquimans County housing development earlier this year and initially thought to belong to Singleton, isn't his, Holley said.

In late March 2016, Singleton had been locked up for a couple of months in the Chowan County Detention Center after being arrested Jan. 9, 2016, on charges related to the armed robbery of an Edenton tobacco store. Singleton is accused of using a BB gun to rob Pearl’s Tobacco Plus, taking $369 in cash and two packs of cigarettes and using a stolen vehicle as a getaway car. He was picked up a short time later.

While incarcerated, Singleton caused so many disruptions that he was transferred to prison for several weeks before returning for a court date, according to archived reports.

Authorities were on their way to pick up Singleton to bring him back to Charlotte on pending charges of assault with a deadly weapon. But the afternoon of April 7, 2016, the day before the out-of-town authorities were set to arrive, Singleton supposedly sharpened a toothbrush into a weapon and forced an unarmed jailer to open a door to let him escape.

Chowan County Sheriff Dwayne Goodwin said Singleton was seen running along Oakum Street, which is about a block from the jail. Deputies turned out the dogs, but couldn't find the escapee.

Eleven days after the escape, a hunter found a nude headless decomposing body in a wooded area off Ashland Church Road, about a dozen miles from the jail, across the line in Bertie County .

The body was verified as Singleton via fingerprints. Initial reports indicated there were no wounds on Singleton's body, except for the beheading — however, his death certificate notes he was shot.

Authorities said Singleton died about a week before his body was found.

Family who couldn't be reached in the past two weeks were unaware of the gunshot wounds at the time Singleton was found dead. They previously questioned how someone could have gotten close enough to kill Singleton by decapitation, saying he wouldn't have gone down without a fight.

Singleton's head is still missing. Anyone with information about the case should contact the Bertie County Sheriff's Office at 252-794-5330.