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ROWAN COUNTY, NC (WBTV) -
A man wanted by police after his ex-wife's body was found in a Spencer neighborhood on Wednesday morning was arrested Thursday along the NC coast.
Rodney Roberto Wallace, 47, was arrested by police Thursday morning in Wrightsville Beach, NC.
He was booked in the Rowan County Jail at 12:15 a.m. on Friday.
Wallace is charged with first-degree murder and two counts of probation violation.
The search for Wallace began after the body of his ex-wife, Toney Ann Johnson, was found between two homes on the 700 block of 4th Street in Spencer around 9 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the Spencer Police Department.
The couple was married until their divorce in January, according to court records.
A neighbor says he heard a woman outside screaming around 8:45 a.m. Wednesday.
The Spencer Police Department, Rowan County Sheriff's Office and State Bureau of Investigation all responded to the scene, and detectives went door to door talking to neighbors.
Police confirmed that there was violence before Wednesday between Johnson and Wallace, and that Johnson had sought help.
According to police, Wallace was sitting in his car with a woman across the street from the Wrightsville Beach police station when that woman jumped from the car and screamed that she needed help because she was with a murderer.
The woman told officers that she got a text from a friend warning her about Wallace just before she got out of the car.
Wrightsville Police responded and arrested Wallace without incident.
"The first thing that you do is you realize, number one that it's not your fault, number two you look for resources," said Renee Bradshaw, the Executive Director for the Family Crisis Council in Rowan County. "Pick up that phone, call that number, and talk to someone.
The Family Crisis Council helps those who are suffering at the hands of an abuser. Counseling, court advocacy, even hospital advocacy are offered, and all are free off charge and anonymous.
Bradshaw said that three women died last year in Rowan County in domestic violence situations and there were 62 domestic violence-related deaths statewide.
"Domestic violence does not have anything to with race, how much money you have, who your father is, who your mother is, who your children are, where you were raised. It cuts across all of those classes," Bradshaw added.
The Family Crisis Council operates a crisis line that is staffed 24 hours a day. Those needing help can call 704-636-4718.
No bond was given for the murder charge but the magistrate did put a $25,000 bond for each of the probation charges.