Family, community mourn couple killed in Burke County

by: Catherine Bilkey Updated:

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BURKE COUNTY, N.C. - The search for Troy Whisnant started after a welfare check at Wednesday morning and that's where investigators said they found the bodies of Whisnant's father and stepmother, Levi and Rhonda Whisnant.

ARTICLE: FOUR DEAD IN BURKE COUNTY

“My aunt was a good, kind-hearted person,” said the nephew of Rhonda Whisnant, Brandon Whisnant. “She loved her kids, grandkids, nieces and nephews -- a good Christian.”

Investigators told Channel 9 that Levi and Rhonda Whisnant were found at a home on Fish Hatchery Road near Morganton. Both had gunshot wounds. The suspect in their murder was their son, Troy Whisnant, who used to live with them.

“Some of the family are members at our church, and that's kind of hard,” neighbor Francis Bumgarner said.

Friends and neighbors are shocked.

“They were nice people,” Bumgarner said.

Brandon Whisnant said it was difficult for him to hear that the victims may have been in the home for days before police found them.
“They didn't deserve to go through this,” said Whisnant.

He told Channel 9 the victims had recently settled into the life they wanted to live.

“They just had their dream house built a few years ago,” Whisnant said. “They built it all by hand and paid for it all by cash. They worked for what they got.”

Investigators do not know the motive behind the murders. With Troy Whisnant dead, they may never know.

“It's crazy that you got elderly people out here striving to live, and they can't live,”  Whisnant said.