In a cautionary tale of the dangers of online dating 31-year-old, Nikki McPhatter lost her life in 2009. McPhatter of Charlotte, North Carolina, traveled to Columbia, South Carolina, to break off her 3-month relationship with Theodore Manning IV. The pair argued, Manning pulled out a pistol and shot her dead.
McPhatter, a Navy veteran and a flight attendant for US Airways, was reported missing in May 2009; three weeks later, her corpse was found in the trunk of her burnt-out vehicle. She was last heard from alive when she phoned friends to say she needed gas to get back to Charlotte from Manning’s home in Columbia.
Investigators believe McPhatter traveled to break up with Manning and to retrieve some jewelry of hers that he had in his possession. Police say that Manning shot her in the back of the head after an argument.
Manning then called a friend, Kendra Goodman, to help him dispose of the body. They drove McPhatter’s car to a secluded area where Manning set fire to the vehicle with the victim’s corpse still inside.
Manning and Goodman then allegedly used McPhatter’s credit cards at an ATM, where they withdrew $500 from her account. Manning and Goodman admitted to having sex after the murder.
Manning would later claim that his gun had gone off accidentally as himself and McPhatter played with it. However, after being interrogated for a length of time, he finally admitted to intentionally pulling the trigger.
Manning was found guilty of voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He had a previous record that involved violence and domestic abuse, including trying to choke a 22-year-old woman.
See details of the case in Homicide City: Charlotte at 9/8c on Investigation Discovery.