‘Can’t have closure’: After 12 years, Kannapolis man’s death still unsolved

KANNAPOLIS, N.C. — Channel 9′s Hannah Goetz is taking a deeper look at a series of cold cases in Kannapolis dating back decades -- starting with Charles Edwards.

On May 27, 2010, Charles Edwards and his wife were inside their home on Barlow Avenue in Kannapolis when three men reportedly broke in just after midnight.

“My husband has been shot,” you can hear on the 911 call recording.

His wife said she was assaulted. Charles was shot and killed.

“And the shooter’s not there anymore?“ the 911 dispatcher asked on the recording. “They left, there should be shell casings in my house, please hurry up.”

Detective Wesley Wilson has been working on the Charles Edwards case for the last two years.

“The statement shows that the suspects came in through the back door,” Wilson told Goetz. “So I think she was in the kitchen, and they came in through the back door assaulted her and I believe Charles was trying to defend the house.”

The autopsy report says Charles was shot twice. The cause of death -- a gunshot wound to the head.

“Do you remember your first discussion with detectives about them telling you anything that happened?” Goetz asked Charles’ mother, Bonita Edwards-Rice-Woodward.

“They just said they got a call that there was a home invasion on Barlow,” she replied.

That day is a dark memory that lives inside Bonita’s head. She visited Charles the night he was killed with no way of knowing it would be her last time.

“He kept on saying ’mama, you ain’t go to go,’” she said. “’Baby yes I do.’”

Just hours later, her son would be gone. But in the 12 years since his death, the case file has grown with leads and dead ends.

Sergeant Alex Quigley, who oversees the criminal investigations division, pulled out four large binders full of case details -- everything from witness statements to suspect interviews.

Quigley wasn’t able to show Goetz most of the information because of the active investigation, but here’s what we do know: A man was arrested in 2010 for Charles’ murder. We don’t know what led to that arrest, but he was later released due to a lack of evidence.

“The technological advancements in evidence proving it wasn’t him, so he was quickly released and the case has been under investigation even after that arrest was made,” Quigley said.

“There has been a series of suspects that have been identified and looked into,” Wilson said. “Unfortunately, there has never been enough substantial evidence to put concrete cases against those suspects.”

Charles’ wife told police there were three men who broke into their home, and she helped put together a sketch of two possible suspects.

“Is there any physical evidence of those three people that you have been able to pull?” Goetz asked.

“Like you said in her statement, she notates that there were three perpetrators,” Wilson said. “However there’s been no physical evidence that could help us identify who the three are.”

Bonita said their family is left with so many questions about what led to the death of a beloved son, brother and father, and she won’t stop pushing for answers.

“I can’t have closure if I don’t know what happened to my son,” she said. “I cannot leave this world and not know what happened to my baby.”

If you have any information about this case, investigators asked that you call the Kannapolis Police Department at 704-920-4000. To remain anonymous and qualify for a reward, you can also contact the Cabarrus Area Crime Stoppers at 704-93CRIME, or 704-932-7463. You can also submit a tip online by clicking here.

(WATCH: Channel 9 takes a look at Kannapolis cold cases that date back decades)

Hannah Goetz

Hannah Goetz, wsoctv.com

Hannah is a reporter for WSOC-TV.