Police Identify Murder Victim

Smithfield Police have released the identity of a 28 year-old woman murdered in the backyard of her own home.  The body of Alanda Mae Abarca was found by police around 7:00am Tuesday after being called to her residence at 617 South Fourth Street by family members who reported her as missing.  Abarca was last seen alive Monday afternoon. While police were searching the home and property Tuesday morning they discovered her body.

Investigators have not said how she died but Police Chief Keith Powell said her death is being treated as a homicide.

Alanda Abarca was the girlfriend of 26 year-old Enrique Lopez. Lopez stole a wrecker from Paul Auto Sales on S. Brightleaf Boulevard Monday afternoon and led police, deputies and troopers on a chase from Four Oaks to Clayton. During the pursuit Lopez fired shots at officers. A state trooper returned fire striking Lopez, who crashed the wrecker into a tree beside Highway 70 near the Clayton city limits.  An autopsy is being performed to determine if Lopez died from the accident or from the gunshot.

Trooper J. J. Kiser, a 9-year veteran stationed in Johnston County has been placed on administrative duty pending an internal investigation which is agency protocol in any trooper-involved shooting.  The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation is conducting an independent criminal investigation at the request of the Highway Patrol.

Chief Powell said Abarca and Lopez were in a dating relationship and had two children.  The children are now in the custody of their grandmother.   Anyone with any information regarding this case is asked to contact Detective Blinson with the Smithfield Police Department at 919-934-2121.

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