Items of interest discovered

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

MURFREESBORO – Leads continue to develop as the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office investigates the Aug. 4 deaths of two elderly Emporia, Va. sisters.

Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan said Thursday that items of interest had been discovered relating to the case. The sheriff would not say what the items were or where they were found.

It is known that bloodhounds specifically trained to sniff out clues as old as 30 days returned with their handlers this week to the Murfreesboro area.

Sheriff Vaughan also said several new leads have developed and that officers were following up on that information on Thursday.

All of this is in an effort to find the person or persons responsible for the deaths of Dorothy Hobbs, 74, and her 71-year-old sister Nellie Bradley Their bodies were discovered at 7:38 p.m. on Aug. 4 along a farm path north of Murfreesboro off the Vaughan’s Creek Road.

“There’s still not a lot I can share with the media at this point other than we are continuing to aggressively investigate these murders and track down each and every lead we receive,” Vaughan said.

Eight days ago (Aug. 11), Hertford County lawmen solicited information during a traffic stop at the intersection of Vaughan’s Creek Road and Vaughan’s Mill Road between the hours of 4-7:30 p.m. Simultaneously, Northampton and Hertford authorities were seeking information at a traffic stop performed at the Northampton County end of Vaughan’s Creek Road at its intersection with NC 35 just north of Severn.

Sheriff Vaughan said both efforts produced new leads that have been investigated.

In addition, a reward is now being offered by the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for the crime.

The sisters were last seen alive at 4:15 p.m. on Aug. 4 after stopping at Boykins (Va.) Baptist Church to make a donation to Relay for Life. Vaughan said the person accepting the donation was an acquaintance of the women. Apparently, nothing appeared out of the ordinary at that time.

The sheriff did confirm that the results from an Aug. 5 autopsy performed in Greenville have been received, but he would not go into any detail. Early reports showed that Hobbs had lacerations to her neck and face while Bradley suffered wounds to her chest.

Those with information concerning the whereabouts of the two women between the time they were last seen at the Boykins church up until the time prior to their bodies being found are urged to contact the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office (252-358-7841), the Southampton County Sheriff’s Office (757-653-2100) or the SBI (1-800-334-3000). This information can include someone seeing the vehicle in which the two were traveling n a 1996 Ford Crown Victoria, black in color n that perhaps was being operated along Highway 35 (in either Virginia or North Carolina), the Vaughan’s Creek Road or the Vaughan’s Mill Road.

That vehicle was found at approximately 11:30 p.m. on Aug. 4 behind an abandoned residence near Boykins. A forensic investigation was performed on the vehicle.