15-year-old cold case solved by tip to Facebook crime page: Reports

A detailed tip to a Facebook page that regularly posts about unsolved crimes led North Carolina deputies to the body of a woman missing for 15 years — and to a suspect they’ve now charged with murder.

Deborah Deans, 29, was last seen at the home she shared with Kimberly Hancock in Spring Hope, North Carolina, on January 19, 2004, CBS 17 reported.

Hancock, now 49, has been charged with first degree murder after police found a body buried in a shallow grave on the property — a body they strongly believe is Deborah Deans and are awaiting DNA results for a final identification.

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Kimberly Hancock
Kimberly Hancock/Nash County Sheriff’s Office

The key came after an October 20 post on a Facebook page called Fighting Crime and Who’s Wanted about the Deborah Deans case.

“I’ve been posting Deborah since probably a year after I started my website” seven years ago, the woman who runs the page told CBS17. She wants to remain anonymous.

“(The tip came in) an email, and it was pretty detailed information,” she told ABC 11. “I can’t say what it actually said. But it was pretty in-depth.”

The tip told where Deans was buried and what she was buried in. The woman running the page handed the information over to Nash County deputies, and within five days, they were on the site breaking ground.

“I can only imagine how her children feel not knowing if she just walked out on them,” the woman said. “A lot of people that were calling me about it were family members saying she wouldn’t just get up and disappear and leave her four children behind.”

Although the body has not yet been positively identified, police said after their investigation points directly at Deans, who was Hancock’s sister-in-law. In 2004, Hancock told investigators that she and Deans had an argument, Deans called someone to come pick her up, and left in a vehicle with that person. She was not seen again.

Hancock made her first court appearance Friday in Nashville, and she is being held without bond. Her next court date is November 7.

ABC 11 reported that Hancock, then known by Kimberly Kay Privette, was charged with manslaughter in March 1989, but received a suspended sentence. The sheriff’s office said she killed her father after there was abuse in the relationship.

The Charley Project, which tracks missing persons online, says that Hancock’s brother, Roger Ayscue, has been missing since an argument with his roommate in 2009. There is no information linking Hancock to that disappearance.

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[Featured image: Deborah Deans/Fighting Crime and Who’s Wanted Facebook page]