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Husband Charged in Murder Of North Carolina Woman Missing Since June

Kiara Wiggins was reported missing in June and her husband, Carl Wiggins, was arrested several days later after a high-speed chase, authorities say.

By Megan Carpentier
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After nearly two months of uncertainly, investigators with the Sampson County Sheriff in North Carolina have confirmed a family's worst fears.

On Tuesday, law enforcement charged Carl Wiggins, 49, with murder in the death of his wife, Kiara Wiggins, 39.

Kiara Wiggins was last seen alive on June 9 at the home she shared with Carl in Roseboro, North Carolina, a small town of about 1,200 people 24 miles east of Fayetteville. Her older sister Judy Murray told Dateline in June that the family became worried after they were unable to reach the normally reliably communicative woman.

Their efforts to get information about her sister's whereabouts from Carl, Judy explained to Dateline at the time, only added to the family's concerns. 

"I said, ‘Where's my sister?'" Judy told the program. "He tells me, 'She's with some friend.' I said, 'Well, tell me the friend so I can contact them to get my sister.' And then he just blew up."

The family reported Kiara Wiggins missing on June 18. Her silver Oldsmobile was found, apparently abandoned, in Bladen County, North Carolina — just south of Sampson County — on June 20, according to ABC affiliate WTVD in Raleigh.

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A press release issued by the Sampson County Sheriff's office on June 21 called Kiara Wiggins an "endangered missing person" and said that law enforcement believed that Carl Wiggins had stolen a 2003 Ford Excursion in Bladen County on June 17 and was armed and dangerous.

Carl Wiggins was arrested on June 23 after police in Four Oaks, North Carolina — another nearby town about 35 miles from Roseboro — spotted him driving that car and attempted to pull him over. He allegedly sped off and led police on a pursuit north through multiple counties that finally ended on I-40 outside of Raleigh.

Wiggins was hit with a plethora of charges at that time, including larceny of a motor vehicle, fleeing or eluding arrest with a motor vehicle, two counts of possessing a stolen automobile, a probation violation, a count of driving while intoxicated, four counts of driving while on a revoked license, one count of driving left of center, and driving with expired tags.

The Sampson County Sheriff told NBC affiliate WRAL in Raleigh in June that, even after his arrest, Carl Wiggins refused to assist in the investigation into the disappearance of his wife.

But on Aug. 2, a body was discovered buried in Clinton, North Carolina, about 10 miles east of Roseboro. Kiara Wiggins' family announced shortly thereafter that they were told the body was likely that of Kiara, based on a tattoo still visible on her forearm, according to WRAL.

The state medical examiner confirmed the body belonged to Kiara on Aug. 4, according to WTVD.

In a statement on Wednesday, the Sampson County Sheriff's office confirmed that they had filed murder charges against Carl Wiggins in the death of his wife, Kiara Wiggins. Though the medical examiner's office has not yet issued a cause of death, the death has been classified as a homicide.

“My office, along with the District Attorney’s office, will continue to work together to bring Kiara’s family the closure and justice deserved," Sheriff Jimmy Thornton said in the statement.

Carl Wiggins is currently being held in the Sampson County Detention Center with no bond. He has requested a court-appointed attorney.