"TRUE CRIMES - NEW & OLD" -  Irina Yarmolenko murdered - N.C. (4676 views) Notify me whenever anyone posts in this discussion.Subscribe
From: saraanna25/16/08 8:27 AM 
To: Suzie (TNSuzie) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (6 of 39) 
 4459.6 in reply to 4459.5 

It was on Greta?  I'll try to find a transcript.

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From: saraanna25/16/08 10:58 AM 
To: Suzie (TNSuzie) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (7 of 39) 
 4459.7 in reply to 4459.5 

Woman's death
haunts couple

Man, girlfriend recall finding UNCC student's body



ROBERT LAHSER/ Staff Photographer

5/014/08 - Brenda Pierce and Dennis Lovelace visit the spot where they found Irina Yarmolenko's body.

Irina Yarmolenko

A wrecked car in a lonely spot by the Catawba River; a young woman's lifeless body on the ground; signs of a possible struggle nearby.

Images of the mystery still float in the minds of Dennis Lovelace and his girlfriend Brenda Pierce.

The Belmont couple are constantly reviewing details from the grim discovery they made around 12:50 p.m. on May 5.

A body they found on the river banks in Mount Holly behind the Stowe Family YMCA was identified as 20-year-old UNCC student Irina "Ira" Yarmolenko.

Police said she died of asphyxiation and are treating the case as a homicide. But they haven't revealed whether she'd been strangled or smothered. They've named no suspects and have identified no motive.

Meanwhile, as Lovelace and Pierce learned more about Yarmolenko, they began to think of her almost like a family member. They've returned to the site where they found her body. What they saw there on May 5 continues to haunt them.

Yarmolenko was last seen leaving a university area coffee shop about 11 a.m. Less than two hours later her body was discovered in Gaston County, about 30 miles from her school.

"We wish we could have helped her," said Pierce, 38. "She's become totally our friend."

Pierce is a textile employee and Lovelace a truck driver. On May 5, they were both off and decided to try out their personal watercraft for the first time this season.

Around 12:30 p.m. the couple packed a picnic lunch and hit the river.

They headed north, zipping under the Interstate 85 bridge toward Mountain Island.

Describing themselves as "river rats," Pierce and Lovelace roam up and down the Catawba whenever they find time.

"I've been on that river since I was a child," said Lovelace, 53. "It brings me peace of mind."

They've seen an eagle dive into the Catawba and fly away with a fish; they've seen deer swimming bank to bank and a beaver that looked almost as big as a Labrador retriever.

Those sights inspired peaceful thoughts. But that sort of thing didn't happen on May 5.

Lovelace first spotted the blue 4-door Saturn. The sedan was lodged on the river bank at the bottom of a steep, weed-covered embankment. He motioned to Pierce to slow down and follow him over to the bank. At first, he thought it was a stolen vehicle that had been pushed over the edge of a hill.

When the couple got within two feet of the bank Lovelace stood up on his water craft and saw a woman's body on the ground beside the car.

Pierce noticed the woman's eyes were wide open. And she can't forget how beams of sunlight flashed on the woman's face.

The car had plunged down an embankment and hit a stump just short of the water. The driver's door and the one behind it were open.

Lovelace noted the steepness of the terrain, the tangles of kudzu and vines, and thick woods flanking the site.

Something else caught his eye: within a 6-to-8 feet diameter around the body, tall grass had been trampled and matted. It appeared to Lovelace as the sign of a "humongous struggle."

"That girl fought for her life down on the banks of that river," he said.

Police have said the trampled grass didn't necessarily mean a struggle had taken place.

Lovelace and Pierce were at the scene only a few minutes before they split up and went to find help. She headed south to Dale's Boat Landing in Belmont; he sped toward a construction site upriver. Neither had a cell phone.

Pierce made the 911 call, but had to stay put at the boat landing in Belmont because her key to the water craft fell in the water.

Lovelace estimated he was gone for about six to eight minutes. He returned to the site and stayed there in his watercraft until rescuers arrived.

As information emerged about Yarmolenko's whereabouts before her body was found, Lovelace and Pierce realized the killer might have been scared away by the sound of their watercraft. It occurred to them that person might even have been hiding nearby when they arrived.

"The time framework put us closer and closer and then a little too close," Lovelace said. "I have an eerie feeling he (the killer) was close to us. It gives me cold chills."

He's convinced whoever killed Yarmolenko knew the area.

"You do not go into the woods in a Saturn and run into this place," Lovelace said. "The person or persons who did this has family or friends over here and they'd been here many times."

This weekend, Lovelace and Pierce planned to go back to the spot where they found Yarmolenko and put up a wreath and eight-foot wooden cross as memorials.

"It's our rest in peace for her and us," Pierce said. "We'll never forget her."

3B | Story inside

UNCC posts a $10,000 reward in Irina Yarmolenko case.

More Memorials

Another memorial for Yarmolenko will be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Saturday at the Chapel Hill High School Auditorium, just off Homestead Road in Chapel Hill.


From: astrallady DelphiPlus Member Icon5/16/08 2:07 PM 
To: saraanna2  (8 of 39) 
 4459.8 in reply to 4459.7 
I get lots of jealous rage from the killer. I think she knew them even if only slightly, maybe from a class. She never thought they would hurt her. Doing a good deed costed her, her life.



From: saraanna25/16/08 2:16 PM 
To: astrallady DelphiPlus Member Icon  (9 of 39) 
 4459.9 in reply to 4459.8 
The detail they released - that she had gone to a Goodwill Store the day she was killed....there is a large, newer Goodwill Store not too far from this area.  Perhaps someone saw her there and asked for a ride...however, I think they said both front and rear doors were open...maybe got in the car at the store - surprised her. 

From: Da Crone Mama of da Moon! (MamaLaiste) DelphiPlus Member Icon5/16/08 3:13 PM 
To: astrallady DelphiPlus Member Icon  (10 of 39) 
 4459.10 in reply to 4459.8 
For some reason, I keep getting a feeling of it being someone that saw her, or knew her from the coffee shop.

From: astrallady DelphiPlus Member Icon5/16/08 7:45 PM 
To: Da Crone Mama of da Moon! (MamaLaiste) DelphiPlus Member Icon  (11 of 39) 
 4459.11 in reply to 4459.10 
I think it will be someone you least expect to kill someone.



From: Suzie (TNSuzie) DelphiPlus Member Icon5/16/08 7:56 PM 
To: saraanna2  (12 of 39) 
 4459.12 in reply to 4459.4 
Yarmolenko made stop before death
05/15/2008 10:13 AM
By: News 14 Carolina Staff
CHARLOTTE -- Police have released new information about the murder of a UNC Charlotte student from Chapel Hill.

According to police reports released Wednesday, in the two-hour period before her body was found on May 5, Irina Yarmolenko made a stop at a Goodwill store.

The body of the 20-year-old college student was found along the banks of the Catawba River in Mount Holly.

Authorities believe she died from being suffocated, but they have not said how exactly she may have been killed.

Police have not released a suspect's name or a possible motive. Yarmolenko graduated from Chapel Hill High School in 2006.


From: Suzie (TNSuzie) DelphiPlus Member Icon5/16/08 7:59 PM 
To: astrallady DelphiPlus Member Icon  (13 of 39) 
 4459.13 in reply to 4459.8 

Police release surveillance video in case of UNC Charlotte student's slaying

Mount Holly Police on Friday released surveillance video that shows Ira Yarmolenko about 2½ hours before her body was found on the banks of the Catawba River.

The 1½-minute segment was captured by a camera mounted outside the Goodwill store at 1725 Harris Houston Road in Charlotte. Yarmolenko is seen driving up to the store's drop-off station at 10:33 a.m. May 5.

Yarmolenko's blue Saturn pulls to a stop. She exits and begins pulling out several articles of clothing and other items from her backseat as an apparent Goodwill employee walks up to assist her.

She appears to be wearing the same UNC Pembroke hooded sweatshirt, black skirt and athletic shoes that she had on just after 1 p.m., when two personal watercraft users discovered her body by the riverside.

After getting back into her car, Yarmolenko pulls away and turns right onto Harris Houston Road toward University City Boulevard.

Before visiting the Goodwill store, Yarmolenko stopped by the State Employees Credit Union on University Boulevard at 10:18 a.m.

Police released no other new information about the murder investigation Friday. But they are hoping the images on the tape could trigger something in someone's mind.

"Video has the potential to sometimes jog people's memories better than a written description does


From: Suzie (TNSuzie) DelphiPlus Member Icon5/17/08 7:53 PM 
To: saraanna2  (14 of 39) 
 4459.14 in reply to 4459.9 
Saturday, May 17, 2008

Loved ones remember slain student
05/17/2008 05:29 PM
By: Deborah Tuff
CHAPEL HILL -- The body of 20-year-old University of North Carolina at Charlotte student Irina Yarmolenko was found lying beside her car near a remote area of the Catawba River in Mount Holly on May 5.

Police say she was suffocated, and while they continue their investigation, family and friends want to tell the world how she lived. They held a memorial service Saturday at Yarmolenko's alma mater, Chapel Hill High School.

Once inside the school’s auditorium, even those who didn't know Yarmolenko soon felt close enough to call her by her nickname, Ira. Pictures from her birth to her college career at UNC Charlotte dissolved in and out on a big screen and words from family and friends tickled mourners and brought tears to their eyes.


From: Suzie (TNSuzie) DelphiPlus Member Icon5/19/08 9:46 PM 
To: saraanna2  (15 of 39) 
 4459.15 in reply to 4459.6 
UNC Charlotte offers reward for info
Updated: 05/16/2008
CHARLOTTE -- UNC Charlotte is offering a $10,000 reward in the hopes of finding more information related to the death of Irina Yarmolenko, a 20-year-old sophomore at the school.

Chancellor Philip L. Dubois announced the reward Thursday, and it will be given out by Crime Stoppers of Gaston County.

Yarmolenko’s body was found last week next to her car on the bank of the Catawba River. Police said suffocation was the cause of death but they are not sure of the circumstances surrounding her disappearance and death.


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