April 26, 2008, a man walking in the woods discovered what would prove to be the beginning of a massive search for a killer. “I found femur bones, and there was a coxis bone. The whole body was there basically,” said Manuel Avalos.
Two sets of female remains were found in a wooded area near the Pirates Table restaurant off Carolina Beach Road. Crime Scene Investigators recovered the bones and sent them to a lab in Texas for DNA identification. Just who these women were was a mystery. Wilmington Police Detective, Mike Overton, said he already knew. “When I first saw the scene, I knew that one of those people was going to be Allison.”
Allison Jackson Foy was last seen leaving the Junction Pub and Billiards in June of 2006, about a mile up the road from where the bones were found. Upon her disappearance, her family, convinced she would not leave her two young children, launched a massive search; one year later, they were still searching for answers. “The past year has been extremely difficult. One of the most difficult times of my life but we just keep plugging along, hoping for the best, but fearing the worst,” said Foy’s sister, Lisa Valentino on July 30, 2007.
While the worst had yet to be confirmed by DNA analysis, news of the April 2008 discovery of skeletal remains, reached Valentino in New Jersey. She visited the Wilmington site, laying flowers at what she believed to be her sister’s unmarked grave. “From the time that I got the call that the remains had been found, and from then every little step of the way seems like its Allison,” she said.
It would not be until August that the first set of remains was identified. Angela Rothen, who was last seen off Lex Road in New Hanover County, had been missing since June of 2007. The autopsy showed Rothen died from a cut to her neck, and possibly blunt force trauma to the head. Angela’s father, Carlton Nobles said, “That’s bad about the way she was done. Nobody should die like that and be mistreated like that. That hurt me bad when I found out how she died.”
Shortly after, DNA from the second set of bones was identified as Allison Foy. Autopsy results showed she died of multiple stab wounds. DNA confirmation may have given the families some closure, but for detectives, there were still more questions than answers. “We never stop thinking about it, but we’ve got other cases that we have to work,” said Overton. “We all get cases on a daily basis but we always think, is there anything we can do to solve this case.”
Detectives did have a man in mind; Tim Iannone, a former taxi driver. According to police, Ianonne frequented the area where the remains were found.
In June of 2008, two months after the discovery, a search warrant showed a list of items seized from Iannone’s home, shed and woods included a bra and eyeglasses. Jewelry was seized from his car.
After multiple searches, and passing a lie detector test, Iannone was cleared around Thanksgiving of last year. “I never for a half a second thought my husband had murdered anybody. That thought never crossed my mind,” Susan Iannone, Tim’s wife, said.
A national story about the case aired earlier this month, breathing some life in to the year long murder mystery. The story generated about 80 calls to the WPD with information. Whether it was the national buzz, or more local leads, one year later, the man once cleared of the case is back on the radar.