Body found in Hampstead ID’d as missing Wilmington woman

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By Sam Hickman

 A body found April 29 in a Pender County field has been identified as a Wilmington woman with ties to Brunswick County.

Now, Wilmington police are investigating the death of 34-year-old Elisha Marie Tucker as a homicide.

Tucker’s mother reported her missing Oct. 21. She was last seen in the 1500 block of Dawson Street in Wilmington in August. The Medical Examiner’s Office in Greenville used dental records to confirm her identity Monday.

Tucker, who has family in the Leland and Riegelwood areas, lived in Wilmington when she was reported missing, said Monica Caison of the CUE Center for Missing Persons based in Wilmington

Initially, authorities believed the body found in Hampstead was that of 53-year-old Shannon Rippy Vannewkirk of Wilmington who was reported missing in early April.

James Opleton Bradley, 51, of Wilmington was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in Vannewkirk’s death, but her body has not been found.

Bradley is considered a person of interest in Tucker’s death but has not been charged, Wilmington police Lt. Tom Witkowski said.

Bradley is incarcerated at the New Hanover County jail without bond.

Anyone with information about Tucker’s death or Vannewkirk’s disappearance is asked to call Wilmington police at 343-3609 or text information to CRIMES, starting a message with “Tip708.”


Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or shickman@brunswickbeacon.com.