Catawba man charged with murder

A Catawba man has been charged with murder in the death of a local woman found dead inside a burning car Thursday in Sherrills Ford.

Police charged Jermaine Wilkes, 32, of 2282 Edna St. in Catawba, with murder, burning personal property and destroying remains to conceal a death. He is being held in the Catawba County Detention Center under a $150,000 bond.

Sheriff’s deputies first discovered the body about 9:30 a.m. Thursday after a local landowner stumbled upon a smoldering vehicle on a backwoods path off Hopewell Church Road.

On Friday, authorities said the victim was Brianne Mary Ginty, 22, of 6898 Hudson Chapel Road.

Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid said investigators believe Ginty and Wilkes got into an argument at her home in Catawba. That's where they think the murder occurred, Reid said, adding that Wilkes then took the body to the path off Hopewell Church Road.

It's still unclear what the two were arguing about, Reid said, and how Ginty was murdered. The body is being sent to Chapel Hill to have an autopsy performed, he said.

Wilkes was scheduled to have a first court appearance Friday morning. He is the only suspect in the investigation, Reid said.

"We have to tie up some loose ends and we've got some more interviews to do," Reid said. "We will wait for autopsy and then present our evidence to the District Attorney's office."