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  1. #1
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    NC - Bryce, 51, Virginia, 46, & Bobby Durham, 19, Boone, 2 Feb 1972

    In 1972 three members of the Durham family were brutally murdered on a snowy Thursday night. The scene appears to have been staged as a robbery, although nothing was known to have actually been stolen. This case probably suffered from a small town under staffed/under resourced LEO agency, and although there have been some efforts to revisit, appears to be as cold as the night over 40 years ago when the crimes took place.

    This link below gives a good overview of the basics -- an intriguing case:

    http://www.journalnow.com/news/local....html?mode=jqm

  2. #2
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    Onaliv, at your link I get a message that I have to subscribe to a service to read the article -- sure sounds like an interesting case though. I hunted down this 2012 link about the murders to give some background for those who can't access the article at your link:

    Murders unsolved after 40 years
    Investigators seek closure in Durham family slayings


    By TIM BULLARD
    For The Record
    (Editor's note: Tim Bullard is an author and journalist who has wrote extensively about the Durham family murders. The Durhams - Bryce, Virginia and Bobby - were Wilkes County natives who were murdered in Boone four decades ago. The murders remains unsolved. The story of the crime is included in Bullard's book, Haunted Watauga County. Bullard and his family live in Winston-Salem.) ...


    more at: http://www.therecordofwilkes.com/new...umber=640&pg=F

  3. #3
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    Thanks to both of you for the links. I had no problem opening the first one.

    This case reminds me a little bit of the recent Dermond murders. JMO -- and I might be way off base -- but I suspect a business related grudge was a motivating factor in both.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by bessie View Post
    Thanks to both of you for the links. I had no problem opening the first one.

    This case reminds me a little bit of the recent Dermond murders.
    JMO -- and I might be way off base -- but I suspect a business related grudge was a motivating factor in both.

    bbm: Oh gosh, bessie -- here we go again, lol, I was just thinking that same thing.

    Weird about the first link not working for me -- likely I need to "fiddle" with some stuff and try it again.

  5. #5
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    What is fascinating about this case (to me), is that there appeared to be one, and possibly two, very good suspects based on what has been published throughout the years. It is possible that the motive was closer to home than just being a business grudge, as families sometimes resort to unorthodox methods to resolve their issues. Hopefully someone will eventually come forward and provide the tip needed to turn this case from unsolved to solved.

  6. #6
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    image.jpg
    Youngest victim, Bobby Joe Durham

  7. #7
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    image.jpg
    Baxter Bryce Durham, victim

  8. #8
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    image.jpg
    Ginny Durham Hall, daughter of victims Bryce, Virginia and Bobby Joe Durham--she and her husband Justin Troy Hall went to the house (with Cecil Small) and made the discovery

  9. #9
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    Pretty much all this post is going to be MOO (however I was born and raised in Boone, NC, so I do know several people who were privy to the case, including the SBI agent that is quoted in the article (Mr. Whittman) - he goes to my parents church, and unfortunately has seriously declining health. I have had several chances to bounce some questions off him over the years, since his retirement.) I was not born when these murders took place, however my dad is a lifer from Watauga County (that end of it) and my mom was a recent graduate of APP State, who was originally from Surry County - Note that Ginny and her current husband still own a home in Elkin, located in Surry County (think Mayberry - Andy Griffith Show..). This is located near the Virginia line, and near where the Durham's moved from.

    This case tends to come up 'around the dinner table' on holidays pretty frequently, because in a small town (even with a Major Collage, this is a small town) any 'gossip' of such heinous nature NEVER seems to die. The following is all MOO (guided by my family and friends, that in NO way is verified) -

    I, like Bessie believe that this was a business grudge gone very bad. But not a business grudge over cars. There is some speculation, within the community, that they may have been involved in some illegal horse/farm dealings. This may be a reason they moved to Boone, to get away from that life. My theory follows this path. Also in the community are some known gentlemen - to be exact 3 (who could of and probably done business with them on that front. They were all in and out of jail frequently. I believe, although I will have to verify this, that one of them was eventually tried and sentenced for murder or failed murder for hire - not in this case though.) At least one of them lived within walking distance of their home. They would have had no trouble parking their cars at some local businesses, that would have been maybe 1/2 a mile walk, at most, to the Durham's residence. (As locals, we are fairly equipped to deal with our somewhat harsh winters, with little trouble.) The issue of tracks around the house could have EASILY been covered up by wind, and snow in a very short amount of time. I'm talking less than 30 minutes. So if the Daughter, Son in Law, and his neighbor ran into the home (well the son in law and the neighbor) then it wouldn't be a stretch to think that any footprints may have been covered by the time the police arrived at the scene.

    Next point, the fact that there was no snow (or wet spots) found on the carpets/floors of the home. To me this is easily explained by the fact that they let the perps into their home, because they knew them. It is common around here to take your shoes off if they would mess up one's living areas. After all this (was at the time) a farming community and no one wants horse poo on their living room carpets. Rugs abound at most entry ways (still). That to me is an EASY explanation (and not at all unheard of here).

    At this point I believe all 3 men were in the home and they request, something, something to do with the illegal activity. Maybe Mrs. Durham tells them to get out (because this area isn't one that women tend to keep their mouths shut, remember she was WORKING in the 1970's in a car dealership, alone at night...not a woman that seems scared...) A gun may have been brandished by the perps. I believe at this point that she may have been hit, because her nose was bloody and possibly knocked unconscious. Mr Durham (Dad) and Bobby possibly proceed to struggle with the assailants. Maybe Mr. Durham concedes to give them what they want, if they'll just go. Two of the men stay with Bobby and Mrs. Durham, the third goes with Mr. Durham to get said item(s) but they were not produced, and he was taken into the bathroom as a method of torture, because if he is shot he may die. He does not produce the information that is requested so his son is brought into the bathroom as a bargaining chip. IE. Your son will live if you just tell us where ________ is. At this point I believe that Mr. Durham gives the room that said stuff is in and he and Bobby are killed (because let’s face it, they have just been tortured in their home, by people I believe that they knew.) While they are being drowned I think guy 3 (with the now faking for her life - passed out Mrs. Durham) is instructed to get said item. Maybe there was yelling from the bathroom to the ransacked areas because guy 3 wasn't in the bathroom. Think, look in the dresser, not there...then try the chest of drawers...at this point I believe that Mrs Durham gets up and calls her son in law. I do not know (I have been trying to research - but so far no luck - I will keep looking) when our 911 system was put into place, but I strongly feel that at this time you would have had to dial an operator or call the police station directly to get someone to your home. Maybe she couldn't remember the number, maybe she had a concussion, whatever the reason I think she called the number that was most accessible to her memory, her daughter's number. Maybe one of the bathroom guys heard her get up, maybe they just walked in on her. Whatever it was the phone was jerked out of the wall, and she was strangled, because again, she was never going to be left alive. That’s a HUGE loose end. I think that she was taken to the bathroom with the others to make sure if she wasn't dead (again), that she drowned. At this point there was a mass search for the item (or maybe it was found by now...) but the house was ransacked looking for this item(s) that were found. Maybe the item (we have no clue what it may be) was in the silverware drawer (like a divider) and the silverware was dumped into a pillowcase to be sorted through.

    At this point they get in the stolen car and get driven back to their cars. Maybe 2 of them rode together but didn't want to leave together with said evidence, so one was driving (like a bat out of hell, all hopped up on adrenaline) home or to just ditch (literally) the car almost running someone off the road.

    I also believe that the son in law was part of this conspiracy on BOTH sides. I think he was involved in the illegal stuff of his in laws and wanted whatever was trying to be recovered from their home. I however do not believe that he thought she was going to call, and that's why he said "Virginia, is that you?" because he expected her to be dead. I know that they were poor college students, and I believe the payment was whatever was taken from the home. Remember, I do believe that one of these men that I am referencing was eventually jailed for murder for hire or murder...) Win, win. Money to farmers in this area isn't nearly as important as reputation among their trade circles. I believe that the son in law got the 'family business' and made enough money to put himself through law school, etc. I think that he made the 'black men' comments to throw off investigators. I truly believe that Bobby and Ginny were just pawns in a sad, twisted story.

    Please (again) bear in mind that this is ONLY MOO, with a lot of quack, neigh, and hearsay.

    It has been passed on to authorities who may or may not have examined it...I honestly have no clue. But when a case is cold, it's worth pulling all possibilities, for the justice of the family and the communities
    Last edited by tacybear; 11-09-2014 at 04:11 PM. Reason: Because: I, like Bessie. Not: I like Bessie (however she is a fine admin!)
    All posts are unless they're clearly not...

    If a woman is drunk,drugged or unconscious, don't rape her. If a woman is walking alone at night, don't rape her.
    If a woman is wearing provocative clothes, don't rape her. If a woman looks like your ex-girlfriend, don't rape her.
    If a woman changes her mind during sex, don't rape her. If your partner is not in the mood, don't rape her.
    -Human Rights Poster

    There is NEVER an acceptable excuse for rape!
    -TacyBear, Rape Survivor

  10. #10
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    Great insight tacybear, have never read much detail around the possible business dispute angle of this case, would love to know more of the details for the theory. Still very surprising that this case is still cold, given that it took place in a small town where somebody surely would have talked...

    Quote Originally Posted by tacybear View Post
    Pretty much all this post is going to be MOO (however I was born and raised in Boone, NC, so I do know several people who were privy to the case, including the SBI agent that is quoted in the article (Mr. Whittman) - he goes to my parents church, and unfortunately has seriously declining health. I have had several chances to bounce some questions off him over the years, since his retirement.) I was not born when these murders took place, however my dad is a lifer from Watauga County (that end of it) and my mom was a recent graduate of APP State, who was originally from Surry County - Note that Ginny and her current husband still own a home in Elkin, located in Surry County (think Mayberry - Andy Griffith Show..). This is located near the Virginia line, and near where the Durham's moved from.

    This case tends to come up 'around the dinner table' on holidays pretty frequently, because in a small town (even with a Major Collage, this is a small town) any 'gossip' of such heinous nature NEVER seems to die. The following is all MOO (guided by my family and friends, that in NO way is verified) -

    I, like Bessie believe that this was a business grudge gone very bad. But not a business grudge over cars. There is some speculation, within the community, that they may have been involved in some illegal horse/farm dealings. This may be a reason they moved to Boone, to get away from that life. My theory follows this path. Also in the community are some known gentlemen - to be exact 3 (who could of and probably done business with them on that front. They were all in and out of jail frequently. I believe, although I will have to verify this, that one of them was eventually tried and sentenced for murder or failed murder for hire - not in this case though.) At least one of them lived within walking distance of their home. They would have had no trouble parking their cars at some local businesses, that would have been maybe 1/2 a mile walk, at most, to the Durham's residence. (As locals, we are fairly equipped to deal with our somewhat harsh winters, with little trouble.) The issue of tracks around the house could have EASILY been covered up by wind, and snow in a very short amount of time. I'm talking less than 30 minutes. So if the Daughter, Son in Law, and his neighbor ran into the home (well the son in law and the neighbor) then it wouldn't be a stretch to think that any footprints may have been covered by the time the police arrived at the scene.

    Next point, the fact that there was no snow (or wet spots) found on the carpets/floors of the home. To me this is easily explained by the fact that they let the perps into their home, because they knew them. It is common around here to take your shoes off if they would mess up one's living areas. After all this (was at the time) a farming community and no one wants horse poo on their living room carpets. Rugs abound at most entry ways (still). That to me is an EASY explanation (and not at all unheard of here).

    At this point I believe all 3 men were in the home and they request, something, something to do with the illegal activity. Maybe Mrs. Durham tells them to get out (because this area isn't one that women tend to keep their mouths shut, remember she was WORKING in the 1970's in a car dealership, alone at night...not a woman that seems scared...) A gun may have been brandished by the perps. I believe at this point that she may have been hit, because her nose was bloody and possibly knocked unconscious. Mr Durham (Dad) and Bobby possibly proceed to struggle with the assailants. Maybe Mr. Durham concedes to give them what they want, if they'll just go. Two of the men stay with Bobby and Mrs. Durham, the third goes with Mr. Durham to get said item(s) but they were not produced, and he was taken into the bathroom as a method of torture, because if he is shot he may die. He does not produce the information that is requested so his son is brought into the bathroom as a bargaining chip. IE. Your son will live if you just tell us where ________ is. At this point I believe that Mr. Durham gives the room that said stuff is in and he and Bobby are killed (because let’s face it, they have just been tortured in their home, by people I believe that they knew.) While they are being drowned I think guy 3 (with the now faking for her life - passed out Mrs. Durham) is instructed to get said item. Maybe there was yelling from the bathroom to the ransacked areas because guy 3 wasn't in the bathroom. Think, look in the dresser, not there...then try the chest of drawers...at this point I believe that Mrs Durham gets up and calls her son in law. I do not know (I have been trying to research - but so far no luck - I will keep looking) when our 911 system was put into place, but I strongly feel that at this time you would have had to dial an operator or call the police station directly to get someone to your home. Maybe she couldn't remember the number, maybe she had a concussion, whatever the reason I think she called the number that was most accessible to her memory, her daughter's number. Maybe one of the bathroom guys heard her get up, maybe they just walked in on her. Whatever it was the phone was jerked out of the wall, and she was strangled, because again, she was never going to be left alive. That’s a HUGE loose end. I think that she was taken to the bathroom with the others to make sure if she wasn't dead (again), that she drowned. At this point there was a mass search for the item (or maybe it was found by now...) but the house was ransacked looking for this item(s) that were found. Maybe the item (we have no clue what it may be) was in the silverware drawer (like a divider) and the silverware was dumped into a pillowcase to be sorted through.

    At this point they get in the stolen car and get driven back to their cars. Maybe 2 of them rode together but didn't want to leave together with said evidence, so one was driving (like a bat out of hell, all hopped up on adrenaline) home or to just ditch (literally) the car almost running someone off the road.

    I also believe that the son in law was part of this conspiracy on BOTH sides. I think he was involved in the illegal stuff of his in laws and wanted whatever was trying to be recovered from their home. I however do not believe that he thought she was going to call, and that's why he said "Virginia, is that you?" because he expected her to be dead. I know that they were poor college students, and I believe the payment was whatever was taken from the home. Remember, I do believe that one of these men that I am referencing was eventually jailed for murder for hire or murder...) Win, win. Money to farmers in this area isn't nearly as important as reputation among their trade circles. I believe that the son in law got the 'family business' and made enough money to put himself through law school, etc. I think that he made the 'black men' comments to throw off investigators. I truly believe that Bobby and Ginny were just pawns in a sad, twisted story.

    Please (again) bear in mind that this is ONLY MOO, with a lot of quack, neigh, and hearsay.

    It has been passed on to authorities who may or may not have examined it...I honestly have no clue. But when a case is cold, it's worth pulling all possibilities, for the justice of the family and the communities


  11. #11
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    Is that a school pic of Ginny? She looks so sad, IMO only.

  12. #12
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    If the son in law was in on the plot, the phone call could have been one of the murderers cueing him to come discover the bodies. MOO, of course.

  13. #13
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    Yes, it was from an ASU yearbook...agree about her appearance

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by pomegranate View Post
    If the son in law was in on the plot, the phone call could have been one of the murderers cueing him to come discover the bodies. MOO, of course.
    Agree, and of course there is always the possibility that there never was a phone call...this was back in the day before call ID/call history etc., and the story of the phone call could have been fabricated to give a reason of why the daughter and son in law decided to go over there...so many unanswered questions in this case

  15. #15
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    Visited the Boone NC area this week to see the geographic areas involved in this case. I am now of the belief that the killer(s) could have easily made their way up to the Durham's home by foot (while parking their vehicle down on the 105 bypass road); they were probably inside the home waiting on the family to arrive and took them by surprise; cannot rule out involvement by other family members in my opinion and just as tacybear has opined, prior business dealings could be a plausible motive (pure speculation on my part) that would justify the savage nature of the killings (more than a family dispute alone); it is unbelievable that this case has not had more widespread media attention, and if it ever does, I believe it would be solved.

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