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Wanted murder suspect may be using dating apps to avoid authorities

CONOVER, N.C. — Federal and local authorities are still looking for a 50-year-old man wanted in the shooting death of his wife at her Conover home in May 2022.

Donald Ray Donald Hodges, a.k.a. Tyrone Evans, a.k.a. Unique Donald Hodges, is armed and dangerous and faces a first-degree murder charge. Investigators believe he has been using dating apps to elude authorities.

The U.S. Marshals Service is offering a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to Donald Hodges’ arrest. The victim’s family says they’re putting up another $5,000.

The Conover Police Department responded to the shooting on May 4, 2022, in the 700 block of Second Street SW and found Tinikia Danayale Donald Hodges shot to death in her bedroom.

Police say Donald Hodges left in his wife’s car after killing her, but that wasn’t found until 10 months later abandoned in a parking lot in Salisbury.

Before they learned about the shooting, officers encountered Donald Donald Hodges at a Charlotte hotel. He appeared to be under the influence and was taken to a hospital for treatment. Investigators later determined he was there hours after the deadly shooting.

On May 10, 2022, police got a warrant for first-degree murder and Donald Hodges has not been seen since, the U.S. Marshals stated Wednesday in a news release.

‘We need to stop him’

Tinikia Hodges’ mother, Diane Bender, spoke with Channel 9′s Dave Faherty on Thursday.

Bender said she went to her daughter’s home in Conover in 2022 after she didn’t show up for work.

Tenikia Hodges was dead when Bender got there.

Bender suspected Donald Hodges was to blame.

“I woke up this morning after having a dream about him,” Bender said Thursday. “That he is out there enjoying life after what he had done to my baby.”

Bender said the accused killer must be caught.

“Lord, we need to stop him,” Bender said. “We need to stop him. Because if he keeps staying out there, he’s going to keep doing what he’s doing, and he’s going to use anybody he can use.”

‘Bring some closure’

Donald Hodges is 6 foot, 6 inches, and weighs 273 pounds with a muscular build. He is bald, has brown eyes, and usually has a beard, authorities said.

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Donald Hodges has tattoos on his chest and arms, which include “OG” on his chest, a dog on his right shoulder, “TNT Hardcore” on his left shoulder, and “Love Shirley Nancy,” as well as a Masonic symbol on his left arm.

Federal marshals believe Donald Hodges may be using dating apps to move in with both men and woman until he overstays his welcome and searches for someone else.

“I urge any citizen who knows anything about Mr. Hodge’s location to please take a second and make that information known to us or any local law enforcement officer or agency,” said Terry Burgin, U.S. Marshal for the Western District of North Carolina. “Please help bring some closure to the murdered victim’s family and loved ones by bringing this wanted fugitive closer to justice.”

The suspect worked as a long-haul trucker and has strong ties to eastern North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and New York, the U.S. Marshals said.

Donald Hodges has a lengthy criminal history, which includes robbery, assault, and weapons charges.

Anyone with information about Donald Hodges’ location is urged to call the USMS Tips Hotline at 1-877-926-8332. Tips also be reported 24/7 through the USMS Tips App.

(WATCH PREVIOUS: Family offers $5K reward for arrest of man accused of murdering wife in Conover)