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Elizabethtown PD still following leads in murder

Crime ReportThe Elizabethtown Police Department are still following leads in the murder investigation of an immigrant that took place in June at 902 Church Street in Elizabethtown. According to investigators, the murder was the result of a home invasion-type robbery.

“By no means is this case closed,” said Lt. D. Cheshire. He said there are several persons of interest and leads that are still being investigated. The NC State Bureau of Investigation is also assisting the department in the case. Lt. Cheshire said authorities believe the individual or individuals responsible for the crime were familiar with the area.

The victim, Blandio Nolasco Morales, 24 years of age, was a farm laborer. According to Lt. D. Cheshire, Morales is from a village named Amatenango de la Frontera, in Chiapas which is located in Mexico near the Guatemala border. He was residing at the 902 Church Street residence temporarily while he was doing seasonal work for Blue J. Farms.

Lt. Cheshire said it took investigators about two weeks to complete the victimology for Mr. Morales. The victimology includes such things as determining the identity of the victim, the circumstances surrounding the event, and establishing a time line for the victim. “By him being an illegal immigrant it makes it more difficult,” said Lt. Cheshire.

Lt. Cheshire said Mr. Morales had no immediate family in the area and investigators were able to eventually locate some cousins who were residing in the United States legally in the Midwest. The cousins brought his brother to North Carolina to identify him. Lt. Cheshire said the brother is also residing in the United States illegally.

Lt. Cheshire said investigators believe other individuals may have resided in the house along with Mr. Morales. By the time law enforcement officers arrived on the scene, the victim was the only individual officers found. Lt. Cheshire said investigators have reached out to the immediate family and other family members, trying to establish the identity and whereabouts of anyone who resided with Mr. Morales at the time. Investigators want to talk to them because they may have witnessed what happened. He said many migrant laborers are in the United States illegally and when incidents of this nature occur, they fear being deported among other things.

Lt. Cheshire said the migrant laborers generally send a large portion of their income to their families back home but there is also a portion of that income which is also likely going to pay whomever funded their transportation into the United States. He said many farm laborers do not have a checking or savings account at a bank which makes them prime targets for criminals.

Migrant laborers are increasingly finding themselves the victims of crime. Many migrant laborers are targeted because they are not local, there is often times a language barrier, they are not here legally, and often they are reluctant to report being the victim of a crime because of their immigration status, according to Lt. Cheshire.

Lt. Cheshire asks, if anyone has any information regarding the murder of Mr. Morales, contact the Elizabethtown Police Department at 910-862-3125.

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