A Lincolnton womanâ€™s live-in boyfriend has been charged in her slaying and is being held without bond on a first-degree murder charge following a first appearance Thursday morning at the Lincoln County courthouse.
Police, who began investigating when her body was found Wednesday in a West Sycamore Street residence, said the incident is the first homicide investigation in the city in four years.
During Thursdayâ€™s first appearance of murder suspect Matthew Broome, 25, of 410 West Sycamore Street, Judge J. Keaton Fonville ordered that Broome be given a court-appointed attorney.
He has also been scheduled to make a second court appearance on Nov. 8.
Police said they initially arrested Broome on Wednesday evening on unrelated charges and as a person of interest in the case. However, further questioning that night by detectives prompted them to charge Broome with the murder of his girlfriend, 37-year-old Lynsette Jo Latusek.
Latusekâ€™s father found her body lying on a sofa inside the West Sycamore Street home sometime between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. Wednesday, authorities said.
Her father immediately summoned aid from local officers and Emergency Medical Services who, upon arrival, found â€œno immediate indication from the residence to suggest how the victim died,â€ according to a police department press release Thursday morning.
Police werenâ€™t quick to label the incident a homicide until close to midnight on Wednesday, said Police Chief Rodney Jordan, and an exact cause of death has yet to be determined at this time.
The State Bureau of Investigation is currently assisting police with the investigation. An autopsy of Latusekâ€™s body is also under way at Wake Forest Baptist Hospital, authorities said.
Despite reports from other news-media outlets, there was no visual evidence that the Latusek was strangled, or that the scene inside the residence was bloody, Jordan told the Times-News on Thursday. A search warrant noted that drawers and a refrigerator were opened inside the home and some silverware had been dumped on the floor, police said.
Although authorities said they are not releasing any information on whether or not the victimâ€™s body had any sort of markings on it, Jordan told the Times-News that the victim did have a small laceration on her head. But he described it as so minor that it could have been self-inflicted.
Jordan also disputed several details about the crime scene that have been reported in other news media with attribution to neighbors or unspecified officers. Saying the information did not come from his team, Jordan said the scene was not bloody and there was no clear sign of a struggle.
In addition to murder, Broome faces one-count each of breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering from the Maiden Police Department, Lincolnton Police Lt. Brian Greene said.
Greene praised the neighboring agency and especially Chief Tracy Ledford, for their fundamental aid in both locating Broome and getting him to cooperate with authorities.
â€œThey really provided us with a means to contact the suspect,â€ he said.
Broome was located in Charlotte, Greene said.
Broome also has an extensive criminal record and was released from a state correctional facility in December 2010, following a 10-month stay behind bars for breaking and entering vehicles in the county, according to the North Carolina Department of Correction Website.
He additionally has five other felony offenses listed on his public record for forgery and uttering a forged instrument in Lincoln County in 2005 and breaking and entering and larceny after breaking and entering in 2008. Lastly, Gaston County authorities prosecuted Broome for safecracking / safe robbery in 2009.