GASTONIA, N.C. — Five people have been charged with first-degree murder in connection with the homicide of a Gastonia man.
The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office said Kenneth Pilgrim's (AKA Kenneth Black) body was discovered last week off Interstate 85 near Blacksburg, South Carolina.
The sheriff said investigators interviewed a person of interest Monday in the murder of the 44-year-old.
Investigators said Black’s body was found in a ditch off Shaman Road, but he wasn’t killed there. They said Black’s body was there for days before a Department of Transportation crew cutting grass found it.
He was last seen alive two weeks before the discovery, and no one had reported him missing.
The homicide possibly happened on View Heights Court in Gastonia, authorities said.
Authorities charged the following suspect with first-degree murder:
- William Glenn Bell Jr., 33, of Gastonia
- Billy Wayne Brinson, 34, of Gastonia
- Carla Jean Black, 26, Blacksburg, S.C.
- Tristan Thomas West, 32, of Gastonia
- Wade Nelson Nations, 54, of Gastonia
Officials said all five were acquainted with Black. Police were still searching Wednesday for Carla Black, who family members said was once married to the victim.
On Thursday morning, police said she was found walking near Blacksburg, and was arrested.
"It's awful. Nobody deserves that,” Black’s 17-year-old daughter, Paula Moore, said.
Moore just recently learned that the man found on the side of the road was her father.
"I don't know what to think. It's just hard,” Moore said.
The two were estranged but had been in contact recently. Last month, they talked about her one-year-old daughter, Nikole.
"He took a grandfather from her and she will never get to meet him,” Moore said.
Investigators haven't released the cause of death, but they said there is no doubt Black was murdered.
The father of five worked as a mechanic in Gastonia but had relatives in the Blacksburg area.
Moore said her father had no enemies. She wants to hear from the person who killed him.
"I want to know why, like, what was the good enough reason to do that to him?" she said.
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