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Police look for suspect in motel room murder of Clarksville woman / September 01, 2021
A police manhunt continues for 31-year-old Michael Anthony Smalls of Buffalo Junction, who has been charged with second degree murder in connection with the death of a Clarksville woman last week at the Super 8 motel in South Boston.

Mahalia Townes of Clarksville, 26, was found unresponsive in a first-floor room at the Super 8 on Bill Tuck Highway on Tuesday, Aug. 24. South Boston Police say Townes suffered wounds that appear consistent with assault.

An arrest warrant for second degree murder has been issued for Smalls, who also is known as Michael Anthony Small. Smalls was last seen driving away from the motel in a 2009 dark blue Honda Accord bearing Virginia license plate UEU7309. The words “Hope” and “Harmony” are displayed on the vehicle’s back glass.

He is described as a 31-year-old Black male, 6’2” tall and 265 pounds.

Smalls remains at large. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of the suspect vehicle or Michael Anthony Smalls is asked to call the South Boston Police Department at 434-575-7203, or the Halifax County Crimeline at 434-476-8445. Callers may remain anonymous and information leading to an arrest may be eligible for a cash reward.

Before her death, Townes was employed at the 7-Eleven/A Plus in Clarksville. Her boss there, Mike Haskins, described Townes as “a wonderful person [and] a sweetie. She was never late and never called out. That’s how we knew something was wrong Tuesday” — August 24, when she did not show up for work.

The 26-year-old Townes was the mother of two young girls, ages 1 and 3. She was looking forward to their upcoming birthdays on Sept. 11 and 12.

Townes grew up in the South Boston area but was most recently living on Fourth Street in Clarksville.

Co-workers raised about $900 in donations for the family. They also placed a memorial vase of red roses on the counter of the store where she worked at 402 Virginia Avenue.

Haskins said as far as he knows, no one has set up a crowdfunding page for Townes’ family. Anyone interested in donating to the family can drop off the donation at the store during business hours. He will make certain it gets to her family.

The suspect in Townes’ death is no stranger to the criminal justice system. On Aug. 2, Smalls was found guilty of attempted possession or transportation of a gun by a convicted felon. He received a five-year suspended sentence on the charge.

Other charges against Smalls go back more than 13 years and include a conviction of petit larceny and breaking and entering from 2008, shoplifting in 2011, grand larceny, breaking and entering and possession of stolen property in 2013, and various drug charges and probation violations between 2013 and 2016. In nearly every instance Smalls received a suspended sentence on the charge.

Investigator Cameron Collie is leading the investigation of Townes’ death for the South Boston Police Department. Officers with the Virginia State Police and Clarksville Police Department, as well as deputies with the Halifax County and Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Offices, are assisting with the investigation.

If you see Smalls, police advise calling 911 immediately.

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If I have this straight the suspect was given a suspended sentence less than a month ago? If he had been incarcerated perhaps this young lady would still be alive. I hope the judge is happy and pleased with himself.


You are so right. Look at his record. 2 times convicted felon with a gun. Mecklenburg courts fail this young lady and her 2 children.

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