Covington man arrested in North Carolina murder after months-long search

Robert Tyjuan Reid

A Covington man is behind bars in Georgia after a two-month-long search for a murder that happened in North Carolina. Police say Robert Tyjuan Reid killed a woman, and attempted to kill another.

The investigation into the mysterious murder that rocked a small town began Feb. 20, 2023 in Aulander, N.C. 

Lin Thi Rawls, an 80-year-old woman, was identified as the deceased victim. Officials said she had celebrated her birthday just days before the incident.

Rawls' caregiver, Rochelle Harrell, was identified as the critically injured victim.

Bertie County deputies say Rawls' and Harrell were at the 80-year-old woman's home that day. There were no signs of forced entry, adding a twist to the case.

Still, Reid was named a suspect after authorities in N.C. said they conducted an extensive investigation.

After two months of searching for him, Reid was arrested in Covington and has been charged with first degree forcible rape, first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, two counts of first degree kidnappings and other related felony charges.

Rawls' daughter told WCTI-TV in N.C. that Reid's arrest gave her a semblance of closure.

"There was some relief, and I say that because know we know this person isn’t out there anymore," said Cathy Lapid. "He’s not out on the streets, he can’t hurt anybody else, and that’s what my family and I wanted. We just didn’t want him to hurt anybody else like this."

Members of the small town were shaken up by the seemingly random act of violence.

"Living or staying in Aulander, you don’t think or can’t even imagine something like this happen," Lapid said. "And when it did, it invokes so much fear for the entire community, and it probably still does"

Lapid is confident her family and community will one day overcome the fear this has left. In the days following her mother's tragic death, friends and neighbors held a prayer vigil to remember the Aulander resident who greeted everyone with a loving smile.

"When I think about her life, which was a very hard one, she still found the ability to have so much love and compassion for people, and that is what I think stands out for many when they remember her," Lapid said.

The only thing Lapid asks for in the wake of her mother's death is peace and safety in her town.

NewsChannel 12, WCTI-TV, in North Carolina contributed to this report