Statesville PD receives preliminary lab results in body found investigation

Deborah Sabra – Picture courtesy of the North Carolina Department of Public Safety


Statesville NC: Statesville Police Department Investigator Christy Cleary received the first piece of encouraging information this week concerning the identification of a body found in a Statesville creek on June 14, 2017.

The FBI lab completed and sent the first phase of lab results on the body and notified Cleary that a second test needed for confirmation is forthcoming. The report was received late Tuesday via US mail. Cleary then made contact with family members regarding these results.

“We are very surprised, but grateful that the FBI lab was able to conduct the testing this quickly,” said Cleary. “Our experience with previous State lab submitted DNA tests is that it often takes more than a year to get results. Working with the FBI lab was a new experience for our agency, and we have been impressed with their professionalism and quicker than expected testing results.

“But our real pleasure is that we are getting close to helping a family bring closure to a very tough period in their lives. We are not able to make any other public announcements about the results at this time,” Cleary explained.

Because the autopsy conducted last June did not reveal any signs of trauma or foul play, the case has not been determined to be suspicious or criminal in nature. Lab submitted samples are often put at the bottom of any crime lab’s list, said Barone, “but because of the FBI lab’s prompt action, “we are pleased to be moving closer to resolving this case.”

Barone acknowledged that the case is possibly related to the missing person report of Deborah Sabra, who was reported missing on June 1, 2017.

“We followed every lead, followed up on reported sightings in multiple states for the vehicle she was reported to have ridden away in, and worked with other law enforcement agencies to locate Ms. Sabra,” said Barone. “Once it was determined that she had not left in a vehicle, the police focused on her neighborhood, calling in Iredell Search and Rescue for assistance.

Two weeks after she was reported missing, a body was found in a creek on Diamond St., near Sabra’s residence.

“We know Ms. Sabra’s family is anxious to hear back from the results, and we will continue working this case until we know what happened to their loved one,” said Barone.

Because of difficulties in identifying the body and personal effects found at the scene, the investigators requested DNA samples from out-of-state family members to use for comparison tests. When the SBI lab reported it was unable to perform the required testing for this case, the SPD contacted the FBI lab, which received the DNA samples on July 14, 2017.

“We have stayed in touch with the FBI lab and especially with the family,” said Cleary. “We have kept them in the loop the entire investigation.”

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