Police search for suspect in N.C. double homicide

Published 12:00 am Thursday, July 7, 2005

Gates County Index

Law enforcement across Hampton Roads are searching for a 17-year-old Gates County, N.C., man wanted for questioning in connection with the double murder of a North Carolina couple.

Charles and Phyllis Dennis, both 63, of Gates County, were found dead in their Sawyer Road home around 2:30 p.m. Monday by a home care nurse from Sentara Health Services, said Gates County Sheriff Edward Webb. She had stopped by to change surgical dressings for Charles Dennis, home recovering from a recent operation.

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Both died of gunshot wounds, Webb said. Although no weapon was recovered, shell casings were discovered at the scene, he added.

Although they are not calling him a suspect, authorities want to talk with Michael Chadwick Geddings.

He is a &uot;person of interest,&uot; said Webb. &uot;When we went to the scene, we also found that a burgundy 1999 Ford Explorer was missing from the driveway.

&uot;As a result of that fact, and the fact that Geddings is also missing, we are looking for him.&uot;

Geddings’ vehicle was discovered around 4 a.m. Tuesday at the recreational center in the Kempsville area of Virginia Beach.

&uot;Someone had attempted to disguise the Explorer by altering the color with spray paint,&uot; said Webb. &uot;Virginia Beach police were able to identify it as the vehicle belonging to the victims through the VIN number.

&uot;Because the vehicle was found in that area, Virginia Beach police and most of Tidewater’s law enforcement are assisting us in this investigation.&uot;

Virginia Beach police have interviewed two Beach men who claim to spoken with Geddings since police began looking for him, Webb said. Because of those conversations, Geddings is not considered an abduction victim.

The bodies of the victims have been sent to the state medical examiner’s office in Greenville, N.C., for an autopsy to determine the cause and exact time of death, Webb said.

Although the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is assisting with the investigation, Gates County authorities will maintain control over the crime scene until the medical examiner’s investigation is finished, Webb said.

Geddings was already known to Virginia Beach police for larcenies committed in that area, Webb said.

These slayings are the first to occur in Gates County since the killing of Fred Parker in 2004.

This also marks the first time a double homicide has taken place in Gates County since the murders of a woman and her daughter back in the early 1990s.