RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – A 68-year-old man who was arrested two years ago in a 1972 murder and rape in Johnston County died in prison while awaiting trial, officials said Monday.

Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell and District Attorney Susan Doyle announced the death of Larry Joe Scott.

He was awaiting trial on charges of first-degree murder, rape and kidnapping in the death of Bonnie Neighbors in 1972.

On March 21, Scott was sent to the Johnston Medical Center’s emergency department before being transferred to UNC-Chapel Hill for treatment.

He was then moved to Central Prison on April 3.

He died on April 15. Scott’s cause of death was not released.

Neighbors was killed on Dec. 14, 1972, while she held her son in her arms, Bizzell said. 

Her body was found on Dec. 17, 1972, bound and shot twice at a migrant camp with her son still alive next to her body. 

Scott, who at one time lived in Benson, was living on the streets of Bradenton, Florida at the time of his arrest in April 2019.

The investigation into Neighbor’s death was reopened in April 2007 by Bizzell. Two detectives, Capt. Buck Pipkin and Lt. Ryan Benson, worked 12 years on the case which led to Scott’s arrest.

The investigators found Scott’s fingerprints in the victim’s car, Bizzell said.

Scott was slated to go on trial in August.

“The evidence against Scott was conclusive and overwhelming. The DA’s Office is appreciative of the hard work of the Sheriff’s Office and the SBI. We are grateful that the advancement in forensic technology allowed us to absolutely and positively identify the murderer responsible for these heinous crimes,” Doyle said.