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North Carolina cold case triple murder solved after 50 years

North Carolina cold case triple murder solved after 50 years
Billy Wayne Davis, 81, is the only surviving member among four men now implicated in a 50-year-old North Carolina cold case triple murder, the Watauga County Sheriff's Department announced Wednesday. Photo Courtesy Georgia Department of Corrections.

Feb. 9 (UPI) -- A triple-murder in North Carolina 50 years ago, has finally been solved, the Watauga County Sheriff's Office announced Wednesday.

The bodies of Bryce Durham, 51, his wife Virginia, 44, and son Bobby, 18, were found dead in their home during a snowstorm in February 1972.

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The murders were never solved and the case became known as the "Durham case."

A tip first came into the sheriff's department two years ago.

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"In May 2019, we received a phone call from the White County Sheriff's Office in Georgia about information that we recognized could be very important to the Durham case," said Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman.

"We immediately began to investigate the new leads and conducted in-person interviews with Billy Wayne Davis in September 2019, October 2020, and August 2021. It was these interviews that ultimately helped us determine who was responsible through the corroboration of evidence. We are confident that we now know who committed these crimes."

Davis, 81, is in custody in a Georgia prison and the only survivor among four men believed to be responsible. Also implicated were Billy Sunday Birt, Bobby Gene Gaddis and Charles David Reed who are all deceased.

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The four men are believed to have committed dozens of crimes in the southeastern United States in the 1960s and 1970s.

The 2019 tip came from Birt's son, Shane, who was interviewed for a book. He recalled his father telling him a story about a North Carolina murder in a snowstorm almost 50 years before.

Sheriff's department investigators interviewed Davis. He implicated Birt, Gaddis and Reed, saying he only acted as the trio's getaway driver for what he described as a hired hit.

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