Linda Darlene Holder Watts

Watts, circa 2004

  • Missing Since 05/11/2004
  • Missing From Sanford, North Carolina
  • Classification Endangered Missing
  • Date of Birth 03/10/1961 (57)
  • Age 43 years old
  • Height and Weight 5'5, 160 pounds
  • Clothing/Jewelry Description A short-sleeved blouse, blue jogging pants and white children's sneakers.
  • Distinguishing Characteristics Caucasian female. Red hair, brown eyes. Watts wears prescription eyeglasses with very thick lenses.

Details of Disappearance

Watts was last seen in Sanford, North Carolina on May 11, 2004. She stopped by her workplace in the mailroom of the Sanford Herald briefly at around midnight or 1:00 a.m., picked up a paper and left. She never arrived home and has never been heard from again.

Watts enjoys walking and frequently walks to work. After her disappearance, authorities found some of her belongings, including a newspaper, clothing and food, near McIver and Jenkins Streets. A pool of blood, later determined to be hers, was nearby. A witness reported seeing two men force someone into a vehicle, but he didn't know whether the person was Watts.

In February 2006, authorities arrested Phillip Jason Bunnell, Gilbert Delano Stone Jr., Frederick Avon Spinks and Eric Cornelius Quick and charged them in connection with Watts's case. Quick and Spinks were charged with kidnapping, rape and murder, and Bunnell and Stone were charged with aiding and abetting the other men.

However, charges against Quick were dismissed for lack of evidence at his December 2008 trial. There was no physical evidence linking him to a crime, and one of the state's witnesses failed to appear at trial to testify.

The judge stated he believed Watts had been murdered, but the prosecution was unable to prove Quick was involved. The charges against the other men were dropped in the days following. Quick cannot be re-tried a second time due to double jeopardy laws, but if more evidence resurfaces the other three suspects can face charges again.

Watts left behind a husband and two young children. Her disappearance remains unsolved and foul play is suspected.

Investigating Agency

  • Sanford Police Department 919-775-8268

Source Information

Updated 1 time since October 12, 2004. Last updated January 23, 2010; casefile added.