GRAPHIC: Autopsy released for woman found ‘viciously murdered’ behind Charlotte business

Autopsy: Woman found dead in Charlotte was decapitated

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - An autopsy released Monday revealed new, graphic details into the case of a woman Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police say was found “viciously murdered” near a strip mall in west Charlotte last year.

The body of 61-year-old Jennifer Ann Banner was found wrapped up on October 16, 2019, near a business in a strip mall on Freedom Drive, across the street from Taco Bell.

Police have previously said they believe she was targeted, and they fear her killer could be targeting others.

According to the autopsy, workers at one of the businesses found Banner’s body wrapped up in a blanket and a tarp secured with electrical cord. At first the workers thought it was refuse, but checked the next day after it was not removed and discovered it was a body. They then called 911.

**WARNING: The following contains very graphic details. Viewer discretion is advised.**

The autopsy report states that Banner had been decapitated, and that her head was absent at the time of the autopsy. According to the report, she was identified by fingerprints.

Officials say her neck contained “sharp force injuries,” but it cannot be determined whether she was killed before those injuries occurred.

WBTV has reached out to CMPD to ask if any additional evidence was recovered at or near the scene. We are still awaiting a response.

The conclusion of the report states that Banner’s death was caused by “undetermined homicidal means.”

Police immediately began a homicide investigation into Banner’s death when she was found in October, but released few details until a press conference on December 20, 2019.

“I’ve been in law enforcement a long time. I’ve been a part of a lot of homicide investigations,” said CMPD Capt. Rob Dance in December. “She was viciously murdered. The worst case that I’ve ever seen.”

Dance added that investigators believe Banner was killed at another location and her body dropped off where she was found.

Woman 'viciously murdered' and dumped at strip mall may have been targeted, police say

Capt. Dance said they believe Banner may have been targeted due her lifestyle, which investigators say may have included drugs and prostitution.

“No one deserves to die like she did," Dance said. "No one.”

Dance said there is a “remote possibility there is a public safety concern.”

“We want the public to know this person responsible for her death is still out there, and could very well be targeting people living a similar lifestyle,” Capt. Dance said. “It’s a public safety concern because in the investigation because of the lifestyle she was living – if others are engaged in that lifestyle, they may cross paths with that individual.”

Police are urging anyone with any information at all that could possibly lead to an arrest to call Crime Stoppers at 704-334-1600 or 911.

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