GASTONIA, N.C. — Police have charged a man with first-degree murder after finding the body of a missing Gastonia woman in South Carolina.
LaPorscha Chantal Baldwin, 30, last spoke with family members at church in Gastonia on Oct. 10 around 2 p.m., and her family had not been able to contact her since then, police said.
Baldwin’s car was found abandoned along Interstate 85 between Sam Wilson Road and Belmont with what appeared to be blood inside, police said.
Detectives believed that Baldwin was last seen by her ex-boyfriend, Charles Combs, 35, of Charlotte. Police found Baldwin’s phone and discovered that after she left the church, she had a conversation with Combs.
Baldwin had broken up with Combs about three weeks prior, police said. According to court records, Combs was distraught and on the day Baldwin vanished, he told a friend about her and said he would kill himself if he could not be with her.
Police said that on Oct. 14, law enforcement officials found Baldwin’s body in Fairfield County, South Carolina.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg police took out first-degree murder warrants against Combs in connection to Baldwin’s death and arrested him on Oct. 16 in Myrtle Beach. He was extradited from Horry County to Mecklenburg County on Tuesday and was charged for Baldwin’s murder.
He was denied bond and is expected to appear in court Wednesday morning.
Channel 9 learned that Combs was convicted of second-degree murder in Charlotte in 2007. He spent 12 years in prison for the 2004 death of his girlfriend at the time, Marsheida Dorsey. According to court records, Combs told Dorsey the only way out of the relationship with him “was through death.”
Dorsey’s cousin said that when she heard about Baldwin’s case, it sounded all too familiar.
“And then when I heard his name on Sunday it was like re-living every moment again,” Almetra Jones Schofield said. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is happening all over again.’ So, I immediately went on social media, got on the pages and said, ‘This is the guy who killed my cousin, he is dangerous.’”
Before Baldwin’s body was found, her family members told Channel 9 that they were concerned for her welfare.
“That’s my baby out there somewhere, and I don’t know where she is,” her mother, Marilyn Baldwin, said.
Marilyn Baldwin said her daughter was headed to work in Huntersville on Oct. 10. They met at the parking lot of First Antioch Interdenominational Church. LaPorscha Baldwin kissed her 18-month-old daughter and said “I love you,” Marilyn Baldwin told Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon.
LaPorscha Baldwin left and never returned. She didn’t call to check in on her young daughter either.
“Her daughter is her heart,” Marilyn Baldwin said. “She would never leave her daughter.”
LaPorscha Baldwin’s church community has come together to help the 18-month-old daughter she leaves behind, and on Monday, Channel 9 reporter Ken Lemon spoke to the pastor.
He said the grieving is very personal for members of First Antioch Interdenominational Church, and said LaPorscha Baldwin was more than a church member -- she was a friend to so many, and her daughter Bella was a light.
The toddler was having trouble understanding that her mother was missing, and church members told Channel 9 their focus has turned to supporting and taking care of the girl.
They have been raising money for the child and have launched a gofundme to help cover LaPorscha Baldwin’s funeral services if needed.
Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call 704-432-TIPS, or get in touch anonymously with Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600, or click here.
(Watch the video below: Search for missing Gastonia mother brings back emotions for another Charlotte family)
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