WJTV News Channel 12 - Daughter charged in Lenoir Co. woman's death

Daughter charged in Lenoir Co. woman's death

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KINSTON, N.C. -

A Lenoir County woman is charged with the death of her mother, 62-year- old Brenda Woodward. On Monday, deputies arrived at Woodward's home and found her dead from a shot to the head. Her daughter Laurie Ellis is being held at the Lenoir County Jail.

Deputies say when they first arrived at the house on Sharon Church Road, Ellis told them the incident was an accident. But as the night went on, they say it was inconsistencies and evidence that landed her in jail.

Trista Johnson the manager of the Sharon United Methodist Church Daycare Center is shaken by Woodward’s death. Johnson says she met her at her old job. “She had really good brownies; I don't even know how she made them but they were really good. She would bring them like at Christmas time at the vet hospital.”

On Monday, Johnson found out Woodward was murdered at home. Just blocks from the church, deputies taped off the house and began their investigation.

“At the home was the time was the victim, she was in the back bedroom. She had received a gunshot wound to the back of the head,” Sheriff Chris Hill said.

Also in the house was James Woodward, their daughter Laurie Ellis and Ellis' 4-year-old son.

“The daughter said that she was showing her mother a gun that she had which in fact was stolen.” Hill said.

But as the investigation continued, deputies determined Ellis was lying and that she actually hid the gun she killed her mother with.

“A lot of what we found was not consistent with an accidental shooting and was more consistent with somebody trying to cover up the shooting,” Hill said.

“This neighborhood is very safe. I've lived in this area for 10 years so it was very shocking to hear that that happened,” Johnson added.

Ellis is charged with an open count of murder and possession of a stolen firearm.  She is being held without bond.

On Tuesday, many came to visit the family at the house. We tried to speak with them, but no one came to the door.

There is no word on a motive at this time.

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