Double murder remains unsolved

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 4, 2008

WINTON – Despite the passage of two years and no arrest, Hertford County Sheriff Juan Vaughan still treats the gruesome murder of two elderly Virginia women like it just happened yesterday.

“We are still working as diligently today as we did when we first got this news two years ago,” Sheriff Vaughan said. “We will continue this investigation until an arrest is made.”

Yesterday (Monday, Aug. 4) marked the two-year anniversary of

when Sheriff Vaughan was summoned to gruesome scene of a double murder involving two elderly sisters, Dorothy Hobbs, 74, and Nellie Bradley, 71, both of Emporia, Va. Their bodies were discovered in a wooded area near a farm path off Vaughan’s Creek Road, just north of Murfreesboro. Both had been stabbed.

“We are still working leads on this case,” the Sheriff said. “As a matter of fact, we just sent off a DNA sample 10 days ago from a person of interest. We are awaiting the results of that test.”

Sheriff Vaughan added that several DNA samples have been sent to the lab over the past six months.

“None have come back with a positive hit, but we keep trying,” he noted. “We don’t consider any information or tests performed regarding this case as trivial. There is a family that still grieves the loss of two loved ones. That is our driving force…to bring the person or persons responsible for these murders to justice.”

If there is a silver lining, Sheriff Vaughan said it was this case is still fresh on everyone’s mind.

“There’s not a day that goes by without someone on the street or in another branch of law enforcement asking me about this case,” he stated. “That’s a good thing. That tells me people still remember this case and as long as this case is still fresh in their minds, as well as ours, we’ll get to the bottom of this.”

In the meantime, Sheriff Vaughan said he was in constant contact with the family of the victims.

“I speak regularly with one of the surviving sisters,” he said. “The family remains supportive of our efforts.”

Additionally, Sheriff Vaughan said he along with the SBI and FBI are in discussions with “America’s Most Wanted” n a nationally syndicated TV series that explores unsolved crimes.

“We’re hoping that within the next few months we can work out the details of having them tape an episode dealing with this double murder,” Vaughan said. “It still breaks my heart to know that someone would do this to two elderly women. They were somebody’s mothers, grandmothers, aunts, cousins or friends.”

Forensic tests on the vehicle occupied by the sisters on the day of their murders turned-up a third DNA sample. That vehicle, a black 1996 Ford Crown Victoria, was found parked behind an abandoned residence near Boykins, Va. shortly before midnight on the day of the murders. However, that DNA remains a mystery as its sample did not match any found in a national criminal database.

Sheriff Vaughan feels it’s possible the sisters were murdered by someone they were giving assistance to.

The sisters were last seen alive between 3:45-4 p.m. on Aug. 4, 2006 at Boykins Baptist Church making a donation during a “bucket drive” for Relay for Life. Their bodies were discovered approximately three and one-half hours later.

A $12,500 reward is offered for the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible.

Those with information can contact the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office at 252-358-7800; the Crimestoppers Hot Line (toll free) at 888-298-8567 or call the SBI toll free at 800-334-3000.

Tips can also be emailed to the Hertford County Sheriff’s Office at or mailed to P.O. Box 176, Winton, NC 27986.