Police on Saturday charged a suspect with first-degree murder and named a woman as a person of interest in connection with the killing of a 61-year-old woman found dead in a vehicle submerged in the Catawba River.
The body of Delia Aldridge Rick was discovered early Sunday after police responded to a report of a submerged vehicle off South New Hope Road at the Seven Oaks bridge, The Charlotte Observer previously reported..
“The investigation determined that she had been murdered,” according to a Gaston County Police Department news release Saturday night announcing charges in the case.
The suspect, 48-year-old James Michael Rick, is believed to be in the North Myrtle or Myrtle Beach area, police said.
He was last seen driving a black 2015 Chevrolet Silverado pick-up truck with NC license plate number HS9845, according to the release.
Police said they also are looking for a person of interest in connection with the killing: 51-year-old Melinda Kay Robinson. She is an acquaintance of Delia Rick and James Michael Rick, according to the police news release.
Police are not saying why or how they believe Delia Rick was killed or whether the Ricks are related.
Her obituary, posted online by Mount Holly funeral director Jeffrey Painter, does not mention James Michael Rick. The obituary lists three children, two sisters, three grandchildren and numerous unnamed nieces and nephews as survivors.
“Further details surrounding the investigation cannot be released at this time,” according to Saturday’s Gaston County Police news release.
Police said in the release that a joint investigation with Belmont police led to the filing of the murder charge, and the police consulted with the Gaston County District Attorney’s Office before charging James Rick.
Anyone with information about the case or the whereabouts of James Michael Rick and Robinson is encouraged to call Gaston County police at 704-866-3320 or Crimestoppers at 704-861-8000. Police released two mugshots of Robinson, one in which she has auburn hair and the other with a darker shade of hair.
A service to celebrate Delia Rick’s life is scheduled for 3 p.m. Monday at First United Methodist Church in Mount Holly, according to her obituary. The family will receive friends after the service.