Residents: Lights would help allay fears

Published 6:00 am Tuesday, November 16, 2004

South Washington Street residents asked supervisors Monday toinstall lights along the street because they are afraid to walk thestreets at night after another body was found there Friday.

Three bodies, dumped by their killers, have been found in theundergrowth along the overgrown street in the past several years,said resident Caroline Reed.

“I can’t hardly sleep at night because I worry about my childrenand grandchildren,” she said.

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Resident Irene Byrd said she pays for a street light at her homebut it provides inadequate lighting because it only illuminates heryard. She also worries about her children.

“What if they should see something they’re not supposed to?” sheasked.

South Washington Street is located in a rather isolated areajust outside the western city limits. The portion of street nearthe old city dump where bodies have been left is unpaved andovergrown with brush.

“You really have to be going there to get there,” said DistrictOne Supervisor the Rev. Jerry Wilson.

Wilson agreed with the residents that lights were needed alongthe street. At night, trees block the moonlight and cast the roadinto complete darkness, he said.

“It’s jet black in there at night,” he said. “I think if youwere to walk through there at night, fear would settle in yourheart. It is bad.”

Supervisors generally agreed that lighting is needed along thestreet but questioned whether they should supply it.

“The county has a lot of isolated roads that are not lit atnight. We can’t light all of them,” said District Three SupervisorNolan Earl Williamson.

He added, however, that circumstances on South Washington Streetmay qualify it as a special situation.

In addition, supervisors only own a small strip on each side ofSouth Washington Street as an easement for the road. The old citydump, owned by the city, and private property, a large tree-linedpasture, border the street.

Supervisors took no action on the request to discuss it furtherand research other options, such as requesting a utility to placethe lights as a public service.

Residents approached the board after the body of Irene WilcherRancifer, 53, was found hidden in the undergrowth beside the streetFriday. Rancifer had been reported missing by family members aboutthree weeks before.

Through information received from the Brookhaven PoliceDepartment, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department questionedRancifer’s grandson, 25-year-old Antwoine Rancifer, who confessedto the slaying and led them to the body. Antwoine Rancifer has beencharged with murder and is in the Lincoln County Jail awaitingtrial.

In June 2002, Marvin Durr was found on South Washington Streetin his car. He had been robbed, shot and the car burned. Two menpleaded guilty in that murder, one for capital murder and one formurder. Capital murder is charged when the crime involves a secondfelony in conjunction with the murder.

Residents and supervisors said they remembered a third bodyfound on the street within the last decade but could not rememberany details during the meeting.

The area is also used for the illegal dumping of trash andgarbage.