A granddaughter has been charged in the death of an 87-year-old Kannapolis woman, according to the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office.
In October 2019, the sheriff’s office responded to the death of Peggy Austin at 112 Tanglewood Drive, Kannapolis. Detectives were called to the scene, and Detective Sgt. Greene assisted in the investigation.
The age of Austin and circumstances of the death had the appearances of a fall, but detectives continued to investigate, according to a news release from the sheriff's office.
The N.C. Medical Examiner felt the injuries to the victim were a bit too severe for a normal fall. Detectives felt the crime scene may have been staged. Greene was able to uncover that a relative, Sarah E. Smith (granddaughter) and her boyfriend, Brandon Joines, lived with the victim and had fraudulently used the victim’s money, and theorized this could have been the motive for the victim’s death, the sheriff’s office said.
Greene obtained an arrest warrant for embezzlement for Smith on Dec. 23, along with a warrant for Joines for aid and abetting the embezzlement, and was able to arrest them both with the assistance of the Mooresville Police Department, on Tuesday, Dec. 29, in Mooresville.
Mooresville police took out a number of drug charges on Smith due to a quantity of methamphetamine being found in her car at the time of her arrest in Mooresville. After a lengthy interview in Rowan County, Smith confessed to pushing her grandmother down a flight of stairs, causing the victim’s death.
Smith was placed at the Rowan County Detention Center in the early morning hours of Wednesday, under a $50,000 secured bond for the embezzlement charges. Joines also was placed at the Rowan County Detention Center under a $50,000 secured bond.
Greene consulted with the District Attorney early Wednesday and obtained a warrant for second-degree murder on Smith, who was still in jail on the embezzlement charge. Smith was served with the warrant for second-degree murder and given an additional $100,000 bond. She remains at the Rowan County Detention Center.
Additional charges may be pending after further investigation.