Murder of Latrese Curtis by Robert Reaves investigated on Where Murder Lies

Mugshot of Robert Lee Adams Reaves
Robert Lee Adams Reaves was convicted of murdering Latrese Curtis. Pic credit: NC Dept. of Corrections

Where Murder Lies on ID is investigating the murder of Latrese Curtis by Robert Lee Adams Reaves in Wake County, North Carolina, in 2008.

When the brutally stabbed remains of 21-year-old Curtis appeared overnight on the side of an interstate highway, the cops launched an investigation that would reveal a five-person love pentagon that led to an affair, sordid propositions, and ultimately murder.

Robert Reaves was a practicing pastor in Durham, NC, when he began propositioning his roommate Steven Randolph for sex. The pastor told Randolph that he wouldn’t have to pay rent if he agreed to sexual relations, but he refused.

Randolph was romantically involved with two women at the time, including the married Latrese Curtis and another woman called Velma Newton. Reaves had previously shown jealously towards Curtis and Newton and is suspected of having slashed Newton’s car tires.

On the evening of January 29, Curtis came over to Reaves and Randolph’s house. When she left later that night, the police believe that Reaves followed her and forced her car off the road before murdering her by the side of the Interstate.

Both Randolph and a friend of Curtis received telephone calls from her cellphone around the time of her murder. On answering, they heard only the wind and the sound of footsteps on gravel and passing cars.

The body of Latrese Curtis was discovered by motorists the following morning on January 30, 2008, under an exit sign on Interstate 540. The 21-year-old had been stabbed nearly 40 times in the head, neck, chest, and stomach. She had also received a blunt force trauma to the back of the head.

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The evidence against Robert Reaves in Latrese Curtis murder

The investigators discovered DNA on the steering wheel of Curtis’s car; the sample was tested on Reaves, and while it could not confirm that it was his DNA, the tests couldn’t eliminate him either. The tests did confirm that the DNA did not belong to Randolph or Curtis’s husband.

The investigators were also suspicious of fresh-looking cuts and wounds that were on Reaves’s hand and leg. He would later claim he’d injured himself while moving a desk.

The most damning evidence against Reaves came from a state trooper who had spotted both Reaves and Curtis’s vehicles together at approximately 1:30 am on January 30. The trooper did not investigate the two cars as they had to leave on another call. Four other witnesses also claimed they’d seen cars similar to those owned by Reaves and Curtis together.

Reaves tried to blame the murder on Randolph, but the police weren’t buying his story and decided to charge him with murder. He was subsequently found guilty and was sentenced to life in prison.

More from Investigation Discovery

Follow the links to read about more murders examined on ID.

Previously on Where Murder Lies, the team examined the case of Jennifer Webb from Buena Vista, Michigan, who had become pregnant following an affair with a serving police officer, Kenneth Bluew. Bluew killed Webb and his unborn child and tried to make it look like a suicide.

Her parent’s strict regime angered teenager Francine Stepp, so she took the drastic step of murdering Mark and Dolores Stepp in their Oklahoma home.

Where Murder Lies airs at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.

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