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3 charged in Bladen Co. native’s murder; blunt force trauma cause of death

RALEIGH, NC (WWAY) — Police say a Bladen County native found dead in her Raleigh apartment earlier this month died of blunt force trauma.

RPD said this morning detectives charged three suspects yesterday with murder in the death of Melissa Dawn Huggins-Jones last week. Police believe the suspects initially broke into her apartment to commit a burglary.

Ronald Lee Anthony Jr., 23, Sarah Rene Redden, 18, and Travion Devonte Smith, 20, are scheduled to make their first appearance in Wake County Court today. Police so far have found no prior connection to the suspects and Huggins-Jones, who grew up in Elizabethtown.

Huggins-Jones, the mother of two, would have turned 31 yesterday. She had moved to Raleigh from Tennessee two weeks before her death for a new job and a fresh start.

Investigators say Huggins-Jones’ 8-year-old daughter found her mother covered in blood inside their new home and sought help from construction workers building apartments in the complex.

(Information from The Associated Press was used in this report)

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