NORTH CAROLINA (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – On a shelf in Lisa Jones’ home sits a large blue plate with a cat’s face.
It is a memento that she has never forgotten.
“She knows I love animals; she knows I love cats,” said Jones. “And she told me when she got it that she thought of me. And now, when I look at it, I think of her.”
Jones got the gift from Nancy Rego, a woman who became a friend of hers over 20 years.
“She made you feel very welcome, and not that ‘you don’t belong here,'” she said of Rego.
Rego is a woman who has not been since in nearly five years.
What is known is this:
At the time of her disappearance, she had been caring for her mother, Delores Sellers, up until Sellers’ death. Records show their last address was at an apartment complex in east Charlotte.
What happened to Rego is, officially, still a mystery.
But unofficially, her disappearance feeds into a larger case involving Rego’s mother, both North and South Carolina, a federal case, two more women that went missing, and a man named Daniel Printz.
WHO IS DANIEL PRINTZ?
“He is a dangerous individual, and you don’t know what sets him off,” said Greenville County Sheriff Hobart Lewis of Printz.
Sheriff Lewis came to know Printz after a woman went missing in his jurisdiction in August of 2021, just outside the limits of Travelers Rest, by the name of Edna Suttles.
“(Edna) Suttles, she was pretty well known in the northern part of this county,” said Sheriff Lewis. “She was a bail bonding agent, street smart, had a great reputation in our area. She was certainly nobody’s fool.”
So, when Suttles disappeared, people noticed. Sheriff Lewis noted that around the time of Suttles’ missing persons case being filed, changes were underway on reporting and responding to cases, noting there had to be an extenuating circumstance or medical issue.
In Suttles’ case, Lewis noted the immediately suspicious nature of what they found.
“Her vehicle was located at a hotel in Travelers Rest. It was back in, and it was really unusual that it would be sitting so close to her home, at a hotel,” Sheriff Lewis said.
The case opened once they saw the surveillance video.
“This male (was) walking around her car and appears to be wiping it down,” said Lewis. “Obviously, some alarms went off real quick that there was some foul play of some kind.”
Lewis said that finding that man was not a vastly tricky task. A man matching that description was seen at a nearby Food Lion and on surveillance using his MVP Card, which allows for discounts on certain items at the store.
That card gave them the man’s name — Daniel Printz, and his address — in nearby Rutherford County, N.C.
While tracking him down was relatively easy, Lewis quickly points out that the case was not open-and-shut. Suttles’ body had not yet been found, and once authorities searched Printz’s home, there were more questions.
“We know he was probably the last person to see her,” said Lewis. “When he became a suspect, other things led not only to Edna Suttles, but Nancy Rego’s information was located — and that was a game changer.”
IT COMES TOGETHER
Rego was last seen around the time her mother died, so when something of hers was found on Printz, there were immediate questions.
“They found a debit card with Nancy Rego’s name on it. Who is Nancy Rego? Well, she’s a missing female from North Carolina,” said Lewis of the initial questions once they discovered the card.
“They had run down the fact that she was missing, but her social security numbers and those type of things continued t go into a checking account at this particular bank that he held the card for.”
Lewis said Printz was continuing to get money out of Rego’s account but noted that nobody had seen Rego herself for some time.
FIGURING OUT WHAT HAPPENED
Lisa Jones remembers the last time she heard from Nancy Rego. It was in an e-mail that Rego had sent shortly after Jones had been treated for cancer.
“She said that she was glad I was through it, that was on the other side, and think that things had gone as well as could be expected,” said Jones. “I would have to go back and read this on whether she would get back in touch with me or not, but she told me she loved me — and that’s it.”
Jones believes something happened to her several months after that e-mail.
However, as far as what happened, that heated up once Printz became a suspect in Suttles’ disappearance. Printz, however, was being evasive.
“(He was) calculated in a lot of ways, he was very apprehensive to answer questions, but you could tell he wanted to be the star of the show. He wanted to run the interview. He had all the answers,” said Sheriff Lewis.
As deputies said they knew they had their suspect, Edna Suttles’ disappearance returned to haunt Printz over time. Slowly, they said, he started to cooperate.
“For example, he would say these things: ‘let’s just say I do know where this body is, and let’s just say I can take you to a body; how would this play for me? How would this help the situation I’m in?'” said Sheriff Lewis.
Court documents showed Printz assisted in the recovery of Edna Suttles’s body, which was found in Rutherford County in May 2022.
Just a month later, Printz admitted to killing Suttles in federal court, but the filings showed something else.
The document also indicated that Printz had been fully debriefed concerning his responsibility for the role in Rego’s death and/or disappearance, along with Rego’s mother, Delores Sellers, and another woman from Gaston County named Leigh Goodman.
Queen City News has not yet learned much regarding Goodman’s case.
However, authorities believe Rego’s mother may have been poisoned before her death.
The federal documents did not say he admitted to killing anyone else.
LINGERING NEED FOR CLOSURE
Jones said she only found out about Rego’s likely fate in March 2022. She’s aware of the plea Printz made.
She believes Nancy Rego is dead.
In fact, she said she was told as much by investigators and was also told that Daniel Printz committed the crime.
“My take on this person — and I will not say his name because he does not deserve that (because) he does not deserve that dignity — this person is a predator, and this person enjoyed targeting women,” said Jones.
Daniel Printz is in federal prison for the rest of his life.
Authorities have used the term “serial killer” to describe him. However, there is no indication of whether he could be facing charges for the other cases–involving Rego, Sellers, or Goodman.
But investigators also have other questions.
“I think Daniel Printz traveled the country, and I truthfully think we don’t know how many bodies he’s responsible for,” said Sheriff Lewis.
For Jones, this is also a warning for vulnerable women. All of the women who were killed or went missing were at least in their 60s.
“Stay in touch with them, follow them, don’t let them disappear,” said Jones.