Mother speaks out after Rural Hall man’s body found burned in Craven County; roommate charged with murder

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Nicholas Williams

RURAL HALL, N.C. — A mother is trying to figure out what to do next after her “big guy with a big smile” was found dead, his body burned and his roommate charged with murder.

Nicholas Williams, a 40-year-old man, was missing since Sunday.

It wasn’t until Tuesday that first responders in Craven County would responded to the “brush fire” that turned out to be Nicholas’ body.

Now, Norris Dwayne Rochelle Jr., 23, of Rural Hall, is charged with his murder.

Jo Williams, Nicholas’ mother, is heartbroken. She is known throughout the community as the director of the Triad Food Pantry.

“This was a senseless murder,” Jo Williams said. “I don’t know why it happened, and sometimes you don’t want to know why something happened. You want to know what you’re going to do next.”

This isn’t the first time the Williams family has lost a child.

Back in 1983, Jo Williams said she lost her daughter Tracey in a hit-and-run on Skeet Club Road.

The mother’s final memories of Nicholas are still present in her mind.

As he walked out the door the last time she saw him, he looked back.

She asked him what was wrong, and he told her, “I just want to look back,” Jo Williams said.

“He said, ‘Mom, it’s good to see you and dad,’ and that’s it and he walked on out the door,” she recalled.

After learning the news of her son, the mother remembers asking her husband what they do next.

He told her, “We trust in God and go on.”

Jo Williams said she hopes people remember her son. Anyone who wishes to honor his memory and pay respects is asked to offer a donation to the Triad Food Pantry.

Norris Dwayne Rochelle Jr.

When the body was found, the Craven County Sheriff’s Office contacted the Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office saying the remains found were a potential match for Nicholas Williams.

The medical examiner has not yet confirmed for certain that the body belongs to Nicholas, but investigators believe they have enough evidence to say it was him.

Tuesday evening, Forsyth County sheriff’s deputies were at 735 Hallmark Drive in Rural Hall, where both Nicholas Williams and Rochelle lived, searching for clues.

The Forsyth County Sheriff’s Office obtained evidence that led them to believe Rochelle was responsible for the man’s disappearance.

Peter Schocker

Rochelle was taken into custody and is being held at the Forsyth County Law Enforcement Detention Center.

An arrest warrant revealed the suspect had only lived in Forsyth County for about seven months. He spent at least part of that time living with Nicholas.

The sheriff’s office did not release information on Rochelle’s bond or future court dates.

Craven County Sheriff Chip Hughes said Peter Schocker, 21, of New Bern, is in custody in Craven County in connection to the case and has been charged with accessory after the fact of murder in the death of a person.

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