A woman faces murder charges in connection with a double homicide and kidnapping that led authorities to Washington, D.C., to find a missing 11-year-old girl, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said Wednesday.
Nikkia Cooper was charged in the deaths of Curtis Atkinson Sr. and Ruby Atkinson, who were found Sunday in their home in east Charlotte, police said. Cooper was also charged with kidnapping the Atkinsons’ 11-year-old granddaughter, Arieyana Forney.
Police confirmed Wednesday that Curtis Atkinson Jr., the Atkinsons’ 36-year-old son and Arieyana’s uncle, was charged with murder and kidnapping. Police believe Atkinson Jr. and Cooper are in a relationship.
Authorities said the two abducted Arieyana after killing her grandparents and drove to Washington, where Atkinson Jr. led D.C. police on a chase after someone in the vehicle made a call to say they were being kidnapped. CMPD Maj. Cameron Selvey said Wednesday that police now believe Cooper made that call. An Amber Alert had been issued for Arieyana.
Selvey said Arieyana is in custody of Mecklenburg County Child Protective Services, and they will handle arrangements for her return to Charlotte. He didn’t provide a timeline for when Atkinson Jr. and Cooper will be brought back to Charlotte.
Police don’t know the motive behind the Atkinsons’ homicide, but they believe Atkinson Jr. and Cooper were in the home for days and that the murders took place before Sunday.
Selvey said police were fortunate to recover Arieyana.
“I can’t speak to (Atkinson Jr. and Cooper’s) intent, but I can tell you that (Arieyana) was in custody of two people that we are charging with a double homicide,” Selvey said. “There’s obviously not a lot of respect for life from those two folks.”
LaVendrick Smith; 704-358-5101; @LaVendrickS