HICKORY, N.C. — Police said they arrested a man and woman overnight and charged them in the murder of Patricia Swink.
The Hickory woman’s friends went to her house Tuesday after not being able to get in touch and found her body, officials said.
Police are investigating the case as a homicide after they responded to the home in the 2000 block of 9th Avenue NE and found Patricia Swink, 66.
Tina is Patricia's niece and Micky is Tina's son, officials said.
In court Thursday, Tina Swink fought back tears after she and Micky Swink were charged with murdering their aunt.
"She seemed very tearful when I went back to explain to her what was going to happen in the courtroom," Defense Attorney Vicky Jayne said.
According to court documents, police got a huge break in the case when the stolen SUV was found at a Food Lion after the murder.
Police reviewed surveillance video from the store and spotted Micky Swink walking inside.
They identified him from police body cam video from three days earlier when friends say he called authorities after claiming he was assaulted.
In court today, we could clearly see the scratches on his face from that alleged assault.
A motive has not been released.
Police also arrested Richard Deal, 39, and charged him with accessory after the fact.
All three made their first court appearances Thursday morning and were given court-appointed attorneys. Their next court appearances are set for Nov. 22.
Neighbors said Swink was a deeply religious woman who sang gospel music. Friends also said she was disabled and sometimes used a wheelchair.
"This shouldn't have happened to her,” neighbor Sandy Lane said. “She lives by herself. She has people coming in to help her and everything. She wouldn't hurt nobody else."
Swink’s friend, Judy Cartrette, said MIcky Swink called her after being arrested by police from inside the jail.
"He told me that he was innocent, that he didn't have nothing to do with this. Then he called me a second time and literally said that his mom had something to do with this." Cartrette said.
Channel 9 has learned police questioned his mother yesterday afternoon at the Police Department. Neighbors said she had recently lived with her aunt before she kicked her out.
"She would steal from her. She would take stuff from her and go sell it," neighbor Allen Lane said.
"They just need to put them under the jail. That's the way I feel about it," another neighbor, Sandy Lane, said.
The search warrant says police found a basement door forced open and it appeared someone had gone through several drawers in the home. Right now they do not know what else might have been taken.
Police are not saying how Patricia Swink died or if the homicide happened on Halloween, according to reporter Dave Faherty.
Authorities said on Wednesday that they believed whoever is responsible for Swink's death knew her.
"She was a good Christian woman and she tried to help everybody," Lane said.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Police Department at 828-324-2060.
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