Crime & Courts

Charlotte cold-case detectives serve murder, kidnapping warrants for 2004 homicide


Cold-case detectives have charged a newly released prison inmate with murder and kidnapping in a Charlotte homicide from 2004.

On July 4, 2004, Mai Edwina Cooper, 29, was found dead in the trunk of an abandoned car on Delane Avenue, off North Sharon Amity Road, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police said Monday.

Not until 2016 did cold-case homicide detectives identify a suspect. They drew arrest warrants for Anthony Aikens, 53. Police didn’t say how they connected Aikens to the case.

Detectives had their suspect, but Aikens was serving a 15-year sentence for manslaughter in New York State. When he was released, Aikens was extradited to Charlotte, where he was served Friday with warrants for murder and first-degree kidnapping in Cooper’s death.

In 2004, a resident told The Observer that her boyfriend first called police after seeing an apparently abandoned Mercury parked in the neighborhood. Police were called again when neighbors smelled an odor coming from the car. Firefighters forced opened the trunk and found Cooper.

Police said dental records were used to confirm Cooper’s identity, but didn’t say how she was killed.

Police ask that anyone with information about the case call homicide detectives at 704-432-8477 or Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600.

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Bruce Henderson writes about transportation, emerging issues and interesting people for The Charlotte Observer. His reporting background is in covering energy, environment and state news.