Tip leads to a body in a backyard grave

National / World

SPRING HOPE, N.C. (WRAL) – A North Carolina woman made her first court appearance Friday morning on charges she killed another woman 15 years ago and buried her body in a shallow grave.

Kimberly Hancock, 49, was shackled at the waist during her brief hearing and said very little to the judge. She was arrested late Thursday and charged with first-degree murder, and she remains in the Nash County jail without bond.

Hancock is charged in the death of Deborah Elaine Deans, a mother of four who went missing in Spring Hope in January 2004.

On Thursday, investigators with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office obtained a warrant to search property at 1402 Wiley Road, and they found human remains in a shallow grave behind the home.

Sheriff Keith Stone said an autopsy needs to be done to identify the remains and a cause of death, but he said there was “a strong possibility” the remains of those of Deans.

The search was prompted by a tip that was recently emailed to the Fighting Crime NC Facebook page about the location of a body. That information, which Stone said was “very detailed,” was then forwarded to sheriff’s office investigators, and he said it proved to be “very accurate.”

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