NORTH WILKESBORO, N.C. — A Phelps, Ky. family is living their worst nightmare, as they prepare to bury their 33 year-old daughter and grandson following their death at the hands of another.
The tragedy occurred in N. Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Jason Ryan Pardue, 33, the alleged boyfriend of the victim and father of her daughter is said to have stabbed Kelly Maria (Hurley) Pruitt multiple times, and evidence suggests that he smothered her 8 year-old son, Kevin Hurley. Autopsies were performed to identify the exact cause of death but that information is not available to media at this time.
The mother and child hadn’t been seen since March 8 and a missing person’s report was filed by acquaintances, since the victim had no immediate family in the area. A search warrant for the property was obtained and an all-out manhunt quickly ensued for the defendant, following the discovery of the bodies allegedly hidden inside Pardue’s home on Friday morning. Officers say Pardue continued to live in the home for several days after the two were killed.
“We seldom have anything of this magnitude in our town. It’s a senseless killing,” stated Wilkes County Sheriff Chris Shew. “You can’t understand it; you can’t begin to wrap your mind around it. There’s no reason for anyone to harm an 8 year-old child.”
Pardue was apprehended after police received a tip Friday afternoon that a man matching the suspect’s description had been seen entering the Little Market Basket convenience store. He was arrested inside the store without incident. A knife was found inside his pocket but no information has been released thus far as to whether it is believed to be the murder weapon.
Pardue, who has an extensive criminal background, is charged with two counts of murder; two counts of first-degree sex offense with a minor under 13; and one count of incest. The accused murderer made his first court appearance on Monday morning and was remanded to the Wilkes County Jail where he remains without bond. He is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on April 3. If investigators choose to charge Pardue with capitol offenses, he could face the death penalty should he be convicted of these crimes.
Kelly was born in Williamson, the daughter of David Michael and Charlotte Bateman Hurley of Phelps. She was a 1998 graduate of Phelps High School. She leaves behind a daughter Alexis Hurley; and two sisters, Amy Hurley and Courtney “Mike” Hurley, both of Georgetown, Ky.
Kevin was born in Pikeville, Ky., and was a 2nd grade student at C.C. Wright Elementary School, and was a former student of Phelps Elementary.
Visitation for both Kelly and Kevin was held on Tuesday night at the Jamboree Church of God of Phelps, and their funeral will be this afternoon at 1 p.m., also at the church. Burial will follow in the Community Cemetery at Abe’s Branch, Phelps, Ky.
More information on this tragic event will be released as it becomes available.