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Neighbors of murdered woman said they've never seen her before

(Photo: Merrilee Moore)

JACKSONVILLE, Onslow County - A mother was found dead inside her home; her son was arrested in another county, driving her car -- now neighbors are telling us they've never even seen her in the neighborhood before.

Police found 61-year-old Clara Kornegay dead in her home on Marion Court in the Sherwood neighborhood off Gum Branch Road in Jacksonville -- but neighbors said they didn't even know a woman lived in that house.

"I've legitimately never seen a woman there," Michael Wulff, a neighbor, said.

Wulff and his wife said Sherwood is the type of neighborhood where everyone knows each other really well. Most neighbors have lived there for years and find it to be a quiet place.

"Kept to himself," Jessica Jones said about the suspect. "Didn't really make an effort to get out to know anybody. He just, you know, sat there on his porch and that would be 'hey, how are you?' and see him do his yard work and that was about -- that was about it."

Jones said the only interactions she had with the suspect were cordial neighborly exchanges. She didn't expect to see what she did when she got home that day.

"We came home from my parents in Morehead and there was still about twenty cop cars here," Jones said. "We pull in and they were parked all in the cul-de-sac, all on the side of the road -- the house was taped off. After being home for what another couple hours or so, we finally saw the ambulance come in and then they took the body out of the house."

Jacksonville Police said Kornegay was found dead inside the home, where it is believed someone had hit her with a blunt object.

When they arrived on scene, they discovered her vehicle was missing. They soon learned Kornegay's son, 38-year-old Shahid Kornegay, was already under arrest in Carteret County for fleeing from authorities while driving his mother's vehicle.

Murder has now been added to his charges.

"I mean, it's still a little bit of a shock though because you don't expect it in such a quiet community where everybody pretty much knows everyone," Jones said. "We wanted to be somewhere that was more established and that, you know, was a safer area to be in and so this was kind of a shocking thing to realize that it was the house on the corner from us."

The Onslow County District Attorney said Kornegay was transferred from the Carteret County Jail to Onslow County, where he made his first appearance in court on Tuesday, November 7, for the murder charge.

Kornegay told the judge in court that he has not hired a lawyer, but would like to be represented. His next court appearance will be on November 28.

The 38-year-old also faces several charges in Carteret County, including eluding arrest and driving while impaired.

If you have any information about this case, you're encouraged to reach out to the Jacksonville Police Department or Crime Stoppers.

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