Detectives are working on the fifth murder in two weeks in Columbus County.
Family members confirmed that Mitchell Smith was shot to death in Nakina Monday. The father of three was killed around 10 p.m., according to reports.
Sheriff Jody Greene said in a press release Wednesday that the Highway Patrol and Nakina Fire and Rescue were initially called to the 140000 block of Swamp Fox Highway East to a motor vehicle crash. Upon their arrival, responders discovered that Smith had been shot in the chest. The sheriff’s office arrived on scene short time later and took over the investigation.
Smith’s sister, Nancy Smith Moss, said in a social media post that her brother had “a heart of gold.”
“His three beautiful children now don’t have their daddy,” she wrote in a Facbeook post Tuesday morning. “I’m devastated and don’t know why someone would do such a thing.”
The killing came on the heels of a shocking triple homicide off Brittany Lane near Brunswick Saturday. Leonel Ciprian Noyola; 29, his wife Nancy Trujillo Espinoza, 25; and their son, Alexis Alexander Ciprian Noyola, 5, were shot to death early Saturday. Rafaela Noyola Jaramillo, 51, survived, and is being treated in an area hospital. Sheriff Jody Greene said that killing was a targeted attack. The victims’ 2012 Ford Fusion was recovered on Twin Pines Road Sunday night. Two men matching the description of the suspects drove the car to a home in the 3000 block of New Britton Highway Sunday, where they stole a Chevrolet truck that was for sale.
On Aug. 30, William Nance was shot multiple times in a home off Dessie Road near the Chadbourn town limits.
It is not known if any of the murders are related.
Greene encouraged citizens to provide information that could help the individuals involved in this homicide. Additionally, Greene urged the public to pay attention to what is going on around you and “to call 911 if you see anything suspicious.”
The Columbus County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Division is requesting anyone with information in this case to please contact Detective Sergeant M. Strickland at 910-640-6629. This investigation is ongoing.