Four people have been indicted in connection with the murder of a North Carolina mother whose badly decomposed body was found earlier this year, WLOS-TV reports.
On Monday, authorities in Macon County, North Carolina, confirmed the identity of the victim as Tina Walkingstick Frizsell, whose remains were found in a burn pit at an encampment in May.
Investigators believe that the mother of two was shot and killed somewhere else and then dumped at the site where her remains were located.
It took months to confirm the woman’s identity through DNA testing because there was significant decomposition.
“It was a very difficult crime scene, very tedious,” Macon County Sheriff Robert Holland told WLOS-TV. “Many of us were there throughout the night, sifting through that firepit, trying to find as many remains as we could.”
Frizsell’s family had reported her missing to police in May and has been helpful to investigators, especially with getting DNA material to compare to the remains.
Four people were initially charged after Frizsell went missing and they have now been indicted with the confirmation of her death.
The prime suspect, 44-year-old Christopher Shields, has been charged with first-degree murder, destroying human remains, felony conspiracy to commit murder, concealing a death and possession of a firearm by a felon. He previously was charged with five counts of kidnapping, three counts of assault by pointing a gun, assault and battery and possession of a firearm by a felon in connection with Frizsell’s disappearance.
Jessica Smith has been charged with accessory after the fact in first-degree murder, concealing a death, destroying human remains and conspiracy to commit murder; the 31-year-old turned herself over to police in May and at that time prosecutors charged her with first-degree kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and disturbing or desecrating human remains.
A third person, 27-year-old Derek McCrackin, has already been charged with desecration of a corpse. He will now be charged with accessory after the fact in first-degree murder, concealing a death, destroying human remains and felony conspiracy to commit murder. McCrackin, who is from Clayton, Georgia, is reportedly fighting extradition to North Carolina.
Finally, 42-year-old Lenore “Lenoka” Wilson is charged with two counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree kidnapping. She had been arrested previously in May.
Investigators have reportedly identified a motive but have not disclosed it publicly.
Frizsell and her husband were separated at the time of her death. However, in a statement to WLOS-TV, he called the defendants charged “monsters.”
“Hopefully light being shed on this horrific tragedy will help bring these monsters to justice,” Jeff Frizsell told the television station. “Justice for Tina.”
An obituary for Frizsell, whose nickname was “Teeter,” said she enjoyed being with those she loved, including her two children, and spending time outside.
“Having spent most of her childhood in Cherokee and partly in Lyman, Wash., Tina moved back to North Carolina as a teenager and lived there into her adulthood. Along her journey, she became interested in nature and anything having to do with mountains and rivers, whether it was hiking, camping, or fishing,” the obituary reads. “Teeter loved to just sit and take in the scenery around her. She also loved to capture the beauty of the outdoors by taking photos. It would do Tina’s heart good to be in the company of her loved ones with laughter; she had a unique laugh and contagious smile. Hanging around a good fire, listening to music, was good for her soul.”
Holland said he hopes the investigation and arrests will help the family find some semblance of closure.
“We’re hoping that we can get the family some closure,” Holland told WLOS-TV. “It’s not the closure they wanted but we would like for them to at least feel like justice has been served for their daughter, who nobody deserves to have happened to her what happened.”
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Featured Image: Tina Walkingstick Frizsell/Facebook