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MORGANTON, N.C. -- Detectives from the State Bureau of Investigations are searching a west Morganton home after three people were found dead there early Sunday morning.

A police officer doing a welfare check found the bodies around 1:15 a.m. at the home behind another house on West Concord Street.

Adrian Avery, who stopped by the home Sunday, identified two of the victims as her sister Barbara Johnson and Johnson's mentally handicapped son, Freddie Thompson.

Avery said the third woman found dead was a longtime family friend in her 70's that lived in Charlotte's Hidden Valley neighborhood.

She had no idea something was wrong until she stopped by and saw police.

'As of now, we have no clue what happened,' said Avery. 'We're just told they were all found D.O.A. -- they were all dead on arrival.'

Avery said she and Johnson share a birthday -- July 30th -- and Johnson had just gotten engaged on that day. She and her son had just moved into the house at 419-1/2 West Concord Street about a week ago.

Police haven't released the cause of death, or when they believe the three died.

A former neighbor described Johnson's son as a likable kid.

'He was a very respectable person,' said Trey Ingram, who knew Thompson most of his life. 'It's a shame someone would do something like that to a person.'

Avery said Johnson didn't have ill will towards anyone, and Thompson was a happy young man.

'I don't understand it, my nephew was just a bright kid,' said Avery. 'He was just spreading love and joy everywhere he went.'

She wishes she had called to check on her sister sooner.

'It's just devastating,' she said. 'We don't know what to think or why something like that would happen to either one of them.'

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