Murder of Deborah Deans by Kimberly Hancock investigated on Snapped

Mugshot of Kimberly Hancock
Kimberly Hancock is serving a lengthy sentence after admitting to being involved in Deborah Deans’s death. Pic credit: NC Dept. of Corrections

Snapped is investigating the murder of Deborah Elaine Deans, who is presumed to have been murdered by her sister-in-law Kimberly Hancock at her killer’s home in a rural area outside Spring Hope, North Carolina.

The 29-year-old Deans was reported missing from the area of Wiley Road on May 21, 2004. Her disappearance remained a mystery until her remains were recovered 15 years later, on October 24, 2019.

She had been buried in a shallow grave in the backyard of Hancock’s home.

The body of Deans, a mother of four children, was found wrapped in debris in a wooded area between two trailers on the Hancock property. She had a bullet wound to the head.

The breakthrough initially came after a “detailed” tip was sent to a crime-fighting page on a social media website.

The Nash County Sheriff’s Office then combined with the Rocky Mount Police Department to investigate further, which led to a warrant to search Hancock’s home.

Police cracked Deborah Deans murder case with a tip-off about killer Kimberly Hancock

At Hancock’s trial, the prosecution stated a woman who had dated Hancock’s son told Nash County detectives that her boyfriend had shown her a hole in the ground of his mom’s backyard. Hancock allegedly told the young couple that there were bodies there and that she intended to move a body so it wouldn’t be found.

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Deans’s mother, Elaine Blevins, told reporters, “What kind of monster does this to children? The kind that allows her own children and her own grandchildren play in the yard where she’s buried our loved one in a shallow grave.”

Kimberly Hancock admitted to voluntary manslaughter in Deborah Deans killing

Hancock was initially charged with first-degree murder, but this changed when she agreed to an Alford plea with the prosecution. She pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter and to concealment of death.

An Alford plea means the defendant is allowed to claim innocence but acknowledges that there is enough evidence to prove them guilty, and they are treated as guilty by the court.

She was sentenced to between seven and nine years for the manslaughter and a further year for the concealment charge.

Hancock was previously charged in March 1989 with manslaughter after she shot her father in the face as he slept. However, her sentence was suspended because he had been abusive toward her.

Snapped airs Sundays at 6/5c on Oxygen.

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