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Police: Smithfield woman fatally stabbed

Investigators accuse boyfriend who died after chase

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SMITHFIELD — A 28-year-old woman found dead outside her Smithfield home on July 2 was fatally stabbed, police confirmed last week.

“With the assistance of the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office, Alanda Abarca’s cause of death was attributed to multiple stab wounds to the victim’s upper torso and neck,” Smithfield police Capt. Ryan Sheppard said. “This case is still under investigation as detectives are exploring leads and determining a motive to this crime. No additional suspects are believed to be involved in this investigation.”

Sheppard said Enrique Lopez, Abarca’s boyfriend, is the sole suspect. Sheppard wouldn’t comment on a possible motive.

The Abarca case began July 2 when police were dispatched to 617 S. Fourth St. to investigate Abarca’s disappearance.

Police said she was last seen at 2:30 p.m. July 1 at the home. Police searched the area outside Abarca’s home and discovered her body.

At the time of her death, Abarca was dating Lopez, the man killed in a July 1 gun battle and law enforcement chase that ended on U.S. 70 just east of Clayton. The couple had two children, according to police. The children are now in their grandmother’s custody.

Smithfield police Detective Chris Blinson is the case agent assigned to this investigation.

“If anyone has any information as to the death of Alanda Abarca, we are asking that they contact us as soon as possible,” said Sheppard. “If any witness wishes to remain anonymous, they may call the tip line at 919-989-8835.”

Sheppard said anyone with information can also visit to submit information online.