Murder victim found in Pitt County woods identified

Brothers, woman charged with murder in victim's death

PITT COUNTY - Officials have identified the body of a man who investigators said was murdered by three people last month in Pitt County.

According to the Pitt County Sheriff's Office, the remains that were discovered near Grimesland on Sept. 22 belonged to 59-year-old Anthony LaBarr (above), of Ithaca, N.Y. He died from blunt force trauma to the head and was left in the woods off Galloway Road, officials said.

Charged in LaBarr's death are brothers Lester Gordon Drake, 60, and Harold James Drake, 53, as well as Nakijah Latifa Howard, 29. The motive for the killing was a dispute over money from a property sale, the Sheriff's Office told NewsChannel 12.

The three suspects, whose homes are on Hanrahan Road near Grifton, were each charged with first-degree murder. They were being held on $2 million bonds.

Deputies said their investigation began when they received a tip on Sept. 21 about human remains somewhere in Pitt County. A K-9 unit located the corpse the next morning on a farm off Mobleys Bridge Road and Galloway Road near Grimesland. The farm is owned by Drake's brother-in-law, deputies said.

According to Capt. Paula Dance of the Pitt County Sheriff's Office, investigators believe LaBarr is a homeless man who came to Pitt County with Harold Drake and Nakijah Howard. The three suspects then allegedly killed the victim.

LaBarr's body could not be initially identified because it was severely decomposed, and was probably left at the scene for at least 30 days, according to deputies.

All three suspects have ties to New York, investigators. Howard is originally from Ithaca.

The male suspects have a lengthy criminal history, according to records.

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