8 years after a woman’s body was found in a Wake County ditch, police search for new clues

Fuquay-Varina Police Department

Police have asked permission to search a man’s home and truck as part of an investigation into the death of a woman whose body was found in a ditch in Fuquay-Varina in 2011.

The partially clothed body of 41-year-old Sandra Denise Thomas was found on Lawrence Street on March 29, 2011, according to a post on the Fuquay-Varina Police Department’s website.

She was covered in mud, police said, and she had injuries to her head, neck, face, arms and ankles, “suggesting that a motor vehicle may have been involved in her death,” according to police.

Thomas was last seen alive at about 2 a.m. that day on West Street after leaving a house party, according to court records filed this week in Wake County.

Police this month asked to search the Apex home and 1988 Chevrolet pickup truck of a man who Thomas had called before leaving the party, records show.

They hope to collect DNA evidence that might link him to Thomas, according to records, and they also want to determine if paint chips from the truck match those that were embedded in Thomas’ clothing the day she was found.

Thomas’ clothes were sent to the state crime lab for analysis after her death, according to police. Investigators found numerous hairs and paint chips.

Police said they previously interviewed the man, who told them Thomas called him to say she wanted to meet him that night. He told police he fell asleep when Thomas didn’t arrive, records show.

Fuquay-Varina police say Thomas’ death is the department’s only cold case homicide investigation.

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact police at 919-552-3191. There is a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case.