Authorities are continuing their investigation into the whereabouts of a 28-year-old Wilkes County woman reported missing about three months ago, as well as investigating the murder of a 26-year-old woman whose body was found Oct. 19 in Wilkes.
Law enforcement officials have declined to comment on any possible connection between the disappearance and murder of Kadejuia Nicole Hamilton and the disappearance of Renee Ann Walker of Purlear. However, they have indicated awareness of the possibility of gaining information on one of the cases while investigating the other.
Hamilton moved from Wilkesboro to Sparta about five months ago and was reported missing to the Sparta Police Department the week before her body was found at an outdoor site in the White Plains Road area of Roaring River.
Wilkes Sheriff Chris Shew said the death is being investigated as a murder that occurred in Sparta and that there is a suspect. Hamilton is believed to have last been seen by friends on Oct. 10.
Hamilton was a 2012 graduate of Wilkes Central High School and Walker was a 2010 graduate of West Wilkes High School.
Wilkesboro Officer J.G. McHargue reported that Dare Miller, who is Walker’s grandmother, flagged her down in a convenience store parking lot on July 9 and said Walker was missing and she hadn’t seen her since June 19.
McHargue said Miller told her Walker was staying at the Quality Inn in Wilkesboro. The officer was told by the Quality Inn manager that Walker checked out of the motel on June 29. McHargue reported that there are no vehicles registered to Walker.
Wilkesboro Police Chief Craig Garris said that despite the time lapse, he was able to get a Silver Alert issued for Walker by the N.C. Department of Public Safety (DPS) on Sept. 25. According to DPS, Silver Alerts are issued to help locate missing people who suffer from some cognitive impairment and may be endangered.
Garris said this was issued for Walker after Wilkesboro police obtained information indicating it was justified. He didn’t want to elaborate for fear of compromising the investigation, but said finding Walker is a top priority.
Emily Severt of Wilmington, Walker’s cousin and also a 2010 graduate of West Wilkes High, spoke about Walker on behalf of the family in a recent interview.
Severt said Walker had lived with her mother and Miller at Miller’s home in the past and has a 3-year-old daughter who still lives with her mother and grandmother. She said Walker worked at the Tyson Foods Inc. chicken processing complex in Wilkesboro.
Walker’s cognitive impairment affects her social skills, making her overly trusting when trying to make friends, Severt said, adding that she is a very sweet girl. “We hope someone hasn’t taken advantage of her for being so trusting,” she said.
“Renee does not have the daily living or social skills to pack up and leave town to start over…. There is just no way she would leave like this and go so long without having any contact” with her family.
Severt said the family wants to let Walker know that they love her and that they desperately want to hear from her in some way. “If she is somehow able to read this or hear about it from someone, we want her to know that she isn’t in any trouble and no one is mad at her.”
She said Dare Miller asked people to pray for Walker.
Walker weighs about 180 pounds, is 5’8”, has shoulder length blond hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing a black top and blue jeans, but Severt said she likes clothes with bright colors.
Anyone with information in Walker’s disappearance can call the Wilkesboro Police Department at 336-667-7277. Det. Chris Handy is the investigating officer.
They can also call Wilkes Crime Stoppers at 336-667-8900, provide information anonymously and possibly receive a reward.