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Henry County man charged with wife's murder after staging break-in

HENRY COUNTY – On January 12, 2018, the Henry County Sheriff’s Office began the investigation into the murder of Lorene Dalton Hopkins-Pequignot, 69, of 4436 Longview Dr., Fieldale, VA.  At 6:57 pm the Martinsville-Henry County 911 Center received a call from Tom Pequignot.  Mr. Pequignot told the 9-1-1 dispatcher that his home located at 4436 Longview Dr., Fieldale had been broken into and he could not find his wife.  Deputies responded to the scene and made contact with Mr. Pequignot.  The responding deputies entered the home and discovered the body of Lorene Dalton Hopkins-Pequignot.

The body was sent to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for the Western District of Virginia for an autopsy to determine the cause of death.  The medical examiner ruled the case to be a homicide with the cause of death being manual strangulation. 

While working the crime scene to identify and collect evidence, it became apparent that the home had been staged to appear like a breaking and entering had taken place.  Evidence from the scene was collected and submitted to the Virginia Department of Forensic Science for analysis. 

Over the past sixteen months, investigators have continued to diligently work on this case while awaiting the results of the evidence that was submitted for testing.  During this time investigators conducted dozens of interviews, reviewed records to include financial, medical, phone and internet.  Investigators also traveled to South Carolina on multiple occasions to locate witnesses and collect evidence.  Throughout the course of this investigation, the sheriff’s office was assisted by Henry County Commonwealth’s Attorney, Andrew Nester, and agents from the Virginia State Police. 

On May 20, 2019, a Henry County Grand Jury reviewed the evidence and indicted Thomas Richard Pequignot, 71, of 277 Sheppard Rd., Stuart, VA on one count of First Degree Murder of Lorene Hopkins-Pequignot.

On May 21, 2019, Thomas Richard Pequignot was arrested at 277 Sheppard Rd., Stuart, VA by deputies from the Patrick County and Henry County Sheriff’s Offices.  He is currently held in the Henry County Jail with no bond.  

Anyone having additional information regarding this crime is asked to contact the Henry County Sheriff’s Office at 276-638-8751 or Crimestoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463).  The Crimestoppers Program offers rewards up to $2500.00 for information related to crime.  The nature of the crime and the substance of the information determine the amount of reward paid.

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