Crime

Decomposing body is fifth found in two weeks in Harnett County

Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats
Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats tlong@newsobserver.com

A body has turned up nearly every other day for two weeks in Harnett County.

The latest one was found partially decomposed Thursday evening in a wooded area near the intersection of Peaceful Lane and Bethel Baptist Road in Spring Lake. The body was identified as Dennis Alan Conley, 32, of Cameron, and the case is being treated as a homicide, ABC11 reported.

Harnett County Sheriff Wayne Coats said it is unclear whether there is any connection between this case and four others reported since Aug. 14.

“I can’t rule it out, but there’s no indication what we’ve seen right now is linked to any of the other cases,” Coats told ABC11.

Early in the morning of Aug. 17, deputies responded to a call of a disturbance on Bailey Road in the town of Coats. When they arrived, they found the body of Marcus Lester Fisher, 39, of Dunn, in the back yard.

Also on Aug. 17, deputies discovered a body on Cool Springs Road near Broadway. After an autopsy, the sheriff’s office on Wednesday identified the body as Ashley Castillo, 27, who lived in Benson and Dunn.

When officials arrived at the house where Fisher was found in Coats, they also found two living men on the property: Michael Todd Denning (37, of the residence) and Robin Chalmers Brown (33, of Lillington). Both were charged with concealing and failing to report a death.

On Sunday, investigators charged Brown, Denning, and Paige Nicole Carter, 26, of Dunn, with concealing and failing to report a death related to Castillo’s body. In an announcement on those charges, Sheriff Coats said Brown, Denning, Carter and Fisher were all acquaintances.

On Monday, officials charged Denning with one count of first degree murder and Brown as an accessory in the death of Fisher, and added felony conspiracy charges against both men related to the Castillo’s death. On Tuesday, Carter was charged with one count of being an accessory and she, Denning and Brown each were charged with count of conspiracy related to Fisher’s death.

Denning was not extended bond, while Brown’s adds up to $1.25 million and Carter’s $750,000.

The other two deaths were reported Aug. 14 and remain unsolved. Officials found Bryan James Rosser (27, of Spring Lake) and Kelcie Lyn Vann (24, near Sanford) dead from gunshot wounds inside a vehicle on a dirt path between Buffalo Lake Road and Twin Ponds Road in Sanford.

The Harnett County Sheriff’s Office is still looking for the person who reported discovering the bodies. That person reportedly drove a white Chevrolet sedan to a nearby gas station and had someone else call 911, then left the scene before deputies arrived.

Any information on any of the cases is asked to call the Harnett County Sheriff’s Office at 910-893-9111 or its tipline at 910-893-0300.

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