Shortly after Thanksgiving 2011 in North Carolina, Edwardyne Williams was reported missing by her family. Her daughters had instantly suspected foul play but were unable to give investigators any clues as to why their mother might have disappeared.
Last seen by her sister on November 27th, her body was found in some woods approximately a quarter of a mile from her home on December 11. An autopsy report revealed Williams’s neck muscles had hemorrhaged and bones and cartilage in her neck had fractured, indicating she was strangled. Her abandoned SUV was found nearby, and her purse was discovered hanging from a tree.
Police began to suspect someone close to Williams might be responsible and suspicion began to fall on her son, Robert Ellison. He had raised suspicions when he had failed to show any lack of concern for his mother’s whereabouts.
While there was a lack of DNA found at the crime scene, one vital piece of evidence was a set of keys that belonged to Williams, these were found in Ellison’s possession. Williams’s signature Betty Boop key chain was also found hanging in their house where she would not have put it herself.
Ellison had only recently moved back in with his mother, having spent years moving in and out of the home, by all accounts they had had a difficult relationship.
Ellison was already in prison on a weapons charge, unlawful possession of a firearm, when he was charged with the murder of his mother.
Robert Ellison harbored a deep-seated resentment towards his mother, he believed he had had a tough life and he blamed Edwardyne for a lot of his perceived troubles.
Investigators learned from family and friends that Ellison had a history of violent behavior towards his mother. He had on several occasions grabbed her by the throat choking her, on another occasion, he nearly broke her finger during a vicious argument.
Prosecutors did not seek the death penalty as it was not a capital murder, Ellison was therefore sentenced to life imprisonment. An appeal lodged against his sentence in 2017 failed.
See the case examined at 8/7c on Thursday on Investigation Discovery.