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SMITHFIELD — More than a week since a Smithfield woman was found dead, police still haven’t said how she died or revealed a possible motive in her killing.
“No new information is available at this time, it is still an ongoing investigation,” Smithfield Police Chief Keith Powell said Friday. “Hopefully more information will be available next week.”
Police identified the woman whose body was found July 2 as 28-year-old Alanda Mae Abraca of 617 S. Fourth St.
Abarca and Enrique Lopez, the man killed in a July 1 gun battle and law enforcement chase, were dating and had two children, according to police. The children are now in their grandmother’s custody.
Powell said police were dispatched to the home to investigate Abraca’s disappearance. She was last seen at the home at 2:30 p.m. Monday. Powell said police searched the area outside the home and found the woman’s body.
Lopez allegedly opened fire on N.C. Highway Patrol troopers who were pursuing him after attempting to pull over the stolen tow truck he was driving.
The troopers returned fire as Lopez neared Clayton. He crashed the tow truck into a tree on the shoulder of U.S. 70 Business East near the Nick’s Flippin’ Kids gymnasium located east of town and was pronounced dead at the crash scene.
State troopers tried to stop the tow truck around 4:23 p.m. July 1 on Black Creek Road outside Smithfield, N.C. Highway Patrol spokesman Sgt. Chris Knox said. Powell said a gun was found in the tow truck but he couldn’t confirm whether it was the one used in the shooting.
Powell said Lopez tried unsuccessfully to steal a car with a mother and child in it before stealing the tow truck. Local law enforcement officers had requested assistance.
Knox said investigators determined Trooper J.J. Kiser shot Lopez during the chase. Kiser, a nine-year Highway Patrol veteran, was placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an internal investigation, which is standard protocol in officer-involved shootings. The State Medical Examiner’s Office is determining the cause of Lopez’s death.
Anyone with any information in the case is asked to call Detective Blinson of the Smithfield Police Department at 919-934-2121.