Missing Greensboro mother now believed dead, boyfriend charged with murder

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- A Greensboro woman initially believed to be missing is now believed to be dead, according to Greensboro police.

Police arrested and charged 25-year-old Desmond Laquan Pendergrass with the murder of his 26-year-old girlfriend Cree Asia Smith on Thursday.

Police have not yet recovered Smith's body, but Capt. Mike Richey said there is enough "forensic evidence", in the form of Smith's blood, to make police confident that Pendergrass murdered her.

Richey would not comment on where that blood was found.

"Homicide is horrific and hard to understand no matter what happens," Capt. Richey said. "It's always a tragedy. But when you haven't recovered the body, there's no closure for that family. It's heartbreaking."

Dorothea Smith, Cree's mother, spoke to FOX8 via phone from New Jersey.

"She moved to [North Carolina] to start a new life," she said. "She graduated college with a Master's degree in psychology. I was proud of her."

Smith said her daughter leaves behind a 7-year-old daughter of her own, who is now living with family in New Jersey.

"We'll never recover from this," she said. "We'll have to raise her daughter."

Police said Smith was last seen June 16 at the Huntley Court apartment where she lived with Pendergrass. Her family reported her missing July 12.

Richey said Facebook posts from her account between June 16 and July 12 may have led family members and friends to believe she was alive. Police now believe those were not in fact posted by Smith.

Police believe the couple got in a fight immediately before Smith went missing.

Pendergrass is in the Greensboro Jail and is being held without bond. His prior criminal record includes assault inflicting serious bodily injury, felony breaking and entering and larceny.

"My daughter was a beautiful child and now she's gone," Smith said. "And the sad part about it - Christmas isn't going to be the same. Because she was born on Christmas."

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