Swansboro man charged with an open count of murder

A Swansboro man has been charged with one open count of murder where the victim was discovered dead inside of his home following a 9-11 call that said a murder “possibly occurred”.

A Swansboro man has been arrested, charged with an open account of murder and set to appear in Onslow county court this Tuesday morning.

Onslow County Sheriff’s Office says that on Monday, Sept. 16 a call was received by Onslow Co. Emergency 9-11 Center at 4:50 PM about a “possible murder that occurred” at the 112 June Holland Drive within the unincorporated area of Swansboro.

In a collaborative investigation, Onslow County Sheriff’s deputies and officers from the Swansboro Police Department responded to the scene. On arrival of the two agencies, 49-year-old Robert Ortiz III, who is the known resident and now suspect of 112 June Holland Drive address was located in the front yard of the residence. “As deputies and officers secured the area, a deceased victim was located inside the residence.”

The murder victim was later identified as 61-year-old Kerry Frank Howard of Lot 9 Lilli Circle, which is in the mobile home park next to 112 June Holland Drive. The cause of death is believed to be the result of stab wounds, but the official cause of death is pending an autopsy which will be performed Wednesday.

As deputies investigated further, it was determined that Ortiz had an outstanding warrant for his arrest. The warrant was for a charge of simple assault on another victim, unrelated to this case said Col. Chris Thomas, OCSO. Ortiz was arrested on that charge while detectives continued to investigate.

On completion of the preliminary investigation, Ortiz was charged with one open count of murder and currently being held in the Onslow County Sheriff’s Detention Center without bond. Ortiz is set to appear for his first appearance in court on Tuesday.

The relationship between the two men is not known at this time.

OCSO says the motive of the murder is still under investigation and more details will be released as it becomes available.


Anyone with information about this case is asked to contact Onslow County Sheriff’s Office at 910-455-3113 Detective Division, or Crime Stoppers at 910-938-3273. Please refer to case 2019-013534 when calling.

ANONYMOUS REPORTS OF CRIMINAL ACTIVITY CAN BE REPORTED TO ONSLOW COUNTY CRIME STOPPERS AT (910) 938-3273. You can also text your Crime Stoppers Tip via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637

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