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Regi

Unsolved Triple Murder, North Carolina, 1972

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rashore

Have the circumstances immediately following the discovery of the bodies struck anyone as strange? The way I've understood it, the bodies were left in the same positions as they were when discovered and that strikes me as against anything instinctual.

I mean, it seems to me that the instinct would be to pull them out!

Oh, I dunno. Think it would depend on the person. If I came across something like that, my first instinct would be get the eff out of there and don't touch anything. Freeze, retreat, don't touch anything. Never know what is evidence. Call the cops ASAP.

Then again, my first instinct would be to call the cops once the weird call came in from mom. Or call the cops at several other moments that they weren't called. The lack of calling the cops throughout this whole thing really bothers me.

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Regi

Think it would depend on the person.

Well, I think a lot would depend on the circumstances too, and this situation was 'potential' drownings. (I say potential because it couldn't be known that any of those people were beyond rescue, and so the way I see it, they allowed them to continue to drown.

I mean, if there's a body at the bottom of a pool, isn't the instinct to get it out ASAP?

The way I understand it, those men even left the water running!

Then again, my first instinct would be to call the cops once the weird call came in from mom. Or call the cops at several other moments that they weren't called. The lack of calling the cops throughout this whole thing really bothers me.

Oh, I agree wholeheartedly! Hall wants it believed that he thought his mother-in-law was actually joking after 10 pm at night about intruders and beatings!...and even though the call was disconnected and he was unable to reach her, they go out in a blizzard...you know, to make sure she wasn't joking. :unsure2: Well, if she wasn't joking, wouldn't it be a pretty darned good idea to call the cops first? :whistle:

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rashore

Fair enough with the pool thing, I probably would jump in a pool. I suppose it might be a bit of a moot point though. Didn't one of them hear a noise that caused both of them to make a hasty retreat? Or at least that's what they say happened. For sure if I came across a scene like that and heard a noise in the house I would get out without further investigation.

Has there been any luck in digging up the names of the suspects they arrested? I've come across accounts that it was done, but nothing with any names or anything.

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Regi

Fair enough with the pool thing, I probably would jump in a pool. I suppose it might be a bit of a moot point though.

I don't think any of us could know what we would or wouldn't do, but we have to look at this situation with these two men and see what they did and didn't do and it just doesn't sit right with me that they left them with their heads still submerged.

Didn't one of them hear a noise that caused both of them to make a hasty retreat? Or at least that's what they say happened. For sure if I came across a scene like that and heard a noise in the house I would get out without further investigation.

I read it was the sound of running water that led Small into the bathroom, but I don't recall anything about a noise after the discovery. It was questioned why they ran so far to a phone and the reason given was that they were freaked out about having found the bodies.

Has there been any luck in digging up the names of the suspects they arrested? I've come across accounts that it was done, but nothing with any names or anything.

No, I've never come across the names of those suspects. I wonder what the evidence was in those arrests.

I've read they have fingerprints in evidence and I'd like to know the details of those, but since I don't, I'm not particularly impressed because for one thing, they could be old.

When I left off with this case, I was beginning to explore what was available on-line through the library archives and I still intend to do that. :yes:

Edited by regi
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SundanceLady

Regi thanks for sharing this. This is where I was born and raised(NC) and about 3 hours from where I live now .I have never heard of this...very interesting. I now have 1000 questions.

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rashore

Regi thanks for sharing this. This is where I was born and raised(NC) and about 3 hours from where I live now .I have never heard of this...very interesting. I now have 1000 questions.

Welcome to UM and the thread :st

Please read through the thread. (and rules of course). and you might be more local to some reports :)

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SundanceLady

I don't think any of us could know what we would or wouldn't do, but we have to look at this situation with these two men and see what they did and didn't do and it just doesn't sit right with me that they left them with their heads still submerged.

I read it was the sound of running water that led Small into the bathroom, but I don't recall anything about a noise after the discovery. It was questioned why they ran so far to a phone and the reason given was that they were freaked out about having found the bodies.

No, I've never come across the names of those suspects. I wonder what the evidence was in those arrests.

I've read they have fingerprints in evidence and I'd like to know the details of those, but since I don't, I'm not particularly impressed because for one thing, they could be old.

When I left off with this case, I was beginning to explore what was available on-line through the library archives and I still intend to do that. :yes

Regi please let us know of any additional info you come across. I have relatives who have lived in that area their entire life and i intend on asking about this case. Curious about the "word on the street." These mountain people do NOT like outsiders or police in their business . I'm positive there is potentially people with info. That do not want to speak with LLE, much less NC SBI. Very compelling case.

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docyabut2

This case is interesting, if the intended murders were a planned event would a person or persons go out in a blinding snow storm to do the acts .The son was killed first, could the killers have been some he knew that were picked up some where along the road ,and brought to the home in the storm? Also if it was planned would`nt the killers have driven their own car do the horrible acts and quickly get away. Why steal the family `s Jimmy car that gets through snow easily to get away ? To many questions

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Regi

Also if it was planned would`nt the killers have driven their own car do the horrible acts and quickly get away. Why steal the family `s Jimmy car that gets through snow easily to get away ?

Well, it appears that the Jimmy was ditched, so that would suggest another getaway. Also, it's suspicious that the only items determined missing from the home were left behind in the Jimmy. (Points to staging.)

Anyway, I wouldn't have expected the perp(s) to have driven their own car right up to the house, regardless of the weather.

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Nile_Shaman

Hi All :). I read through your posts on this and really, it is clear that a lot of specific information is being kept out of the public arena, if it is a "well documented" case. That is a good thing, actually, but can be frustrating for us on this side of the case.

Speaking as a retired cop, a few things cross my mind after pondering the data given:

I live very rurally now and calling the cops is secondary. Response time for fire and pd is too long in a crisis. The SIL not calling before throwing on clothes and heading out the door does not make me wonder, by itself, but the daughter (left at home?) not calling does. She had nothing else to do and one would assume would be frantic and afraid her husband would also face hazard on arrival. UNLESS, they only had a cell and hubby kept it for work. This is common among the poorer, which makes me wonder if daughter was estranged (disapproval of her marriage?) Just speculation, given so little. Did she inherit?

It began to snow about 3 pm I think I read. Dad had digested food. How about did he come home before his meeting and ate then, perhaps changed, then went back by work and decided to use the Jimmy due to the snow (and why not check out the new truck? LOL). Anyway, what and where Dad went earlier would be good to know. Dad was there earlier for the chicken to be in his small intestine. With whom, if anyone.

The son was killed first... why? Little is said about his college adventures to know if trouble followed him. Did he drive alone? Was he dropped off at the dealership?

just some first thoughts :)

ns

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rashore

Hi All :). I read through your posts on this and really, it is clear that a lot of specific information is being kept out of the public arena, if it is a "well documented" case. That is a good thing, actually, but can be frustrating for us on this side of the case.

Speaking as a retired cop, a few things cross my mind after pondering the data given:

I live very rurally now and calling the cops is secondary. Response time for fire and pd is too long in a crisis. The SIL not calling before throwing on clothes and heading out the door does not make me wonder, by itself, but the daughter (left at home?) not calling does. She had nothing else to do and one would assume would be frantic and afraid her husband would also face hazard on arrival. UNLESS, they only had a cell and hubby kept it for work. This is common among the poorer, which makes me wonder if daughter was estranged (disapproval of her marriage?) Just speculation, given so little. Did she inherit?

It began to snow about 3 pm I think I read. Dad had digested food. How about did he come home before his meeting and ate then, perhaps changed, then went back by work and decided to use the Jimmy due to the snow (and why not check out the new truck? LOL). Anyway, what and where Dad went earlier would be good to know. Dad was there earlier for the chicken to be in his small intestine. With whom, if anyone.

The son was killed first... why? Little is said about his college adventures to know if trouble followed him. Did he drive alone? Was he dropped off at the dealership?

just some first thoughts :)

ns

It is a good point about rural living and the LEO- the house wasn't in the official town limits. But they sort of weren't rural, more on the edge of town. They lived off a pretty well used road, the 105 bypass.

The daughter didn't stay home... She went in the car with her husband and Mr. Small, stayed in the car while they walked up to the house and back. And it's pretty much right out that they would have had a cell phone considering the first true cell phone call wasn't made till over a year after the murders in April 1973. And that phone was only a prototype.

I don't know about inheritance, but the young couple did move after the murders, and divorced in 1976. There might or might not have been estrangement, there isn't really any mention of it either way in the information so far.

Bryce and Virginia had chicken, squash, and corn in their stomachs, Bryce was noted as being well digested, Virginia partially digested. It is possible they had lunch at different times even though they ate the same thing. I'm guessing that it was lunch since it can take 6-8 hoursish for food to start getting into the small intestine.

Bobbys car was at the dealership, so it's probably more likely that he drove there himself and went home with his parents than it is that he got dropped off by anyone. It is likely that he drove alone since there was a witness to him having snow in his hair, and no mention is made of anyone else being with him at that time.

I'm not too positive that Bobby was the first one killed even though he was the first one in the tub. Virginia was noted as cause of death strangulation only, and had lividity on her face which might indicate she was killed first, left where she was killed, and placed in the tub last. Bobby had marks on his face like gag marks (possibly rope marks) and cause of death was strangulation and possible drowning. Which might indicate he was held before death and possibly not killed first.

Too many possibles in that paragraph, I know.

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Nile_Shaman

Thanks for your reply Ras and I accept the "idiot" award of the day for not recalling this was a 70's era case and tossing cell phones around :). Multi-tasking, sorry.

ns

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docyabut2

The phone call from the Mother that the Son in law answered saying two men were beating up her husband and son had to be some what true, other wise why wound the Son in law, the daughter and neighbor a former detective go over in a storm to see what happen. If the Son in law was lying and he did the murders, how would he have gotten to the home earlier, do the murders alone and get away using the jimmy? Was the jimmy car found ditched anywhere close to the Son in law`s home ? More questions :unsure2:

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Regi

The phone call from the Mother that the Son in law answered saying two men were beating up her husband and son had to be some what true, other wise why wound the Son in law, the daughter and neighbor a former detective go over in a storm to see what happen. If the Son in law was lying and he did the murders, how would he have gotten to the home earlier, do the murders alone and get away using the jimmy?

Hall's story was that it was three men.

I don't know what Hall, the daughter and Small thought could have actually occurred. Either Mrs. Durham was joking- not sure why that was even considered- or there actually was an assault taking place, but they went there with the daughter and without calling the police so it seems to me they didn't go expecting to confront three violent intruders.

As far as Hall's involvement, I don't think it's anyone's opinion that there was just one perp..

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SundanceLady

what are jimmys???

A truck. Jimmy is a style of Chevrolet truck.

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rashore

A truck. Jimmy is a style of Chevrolet truck.

Actually, Jimmy is a GMC, not a Chevrolet. Chevrolet has the Blazer.

Edited by rashore
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mbrn30000

A jimmy is an suv made by GMC.

190162.jpg This is an interesting crime. Does it seem that the three were tortured perhaps for info? Seems very strange to use the tub in a robbery. It seems someone wanted them dead, but wanted them to suffer. Wonder if there were rumors of a safe in the house around the dealership? Remember In Cold Blood when rumors of large stashes of cash in a safe spread in prison led to that killing. I wonder if the FBI has ever profiled this case since their Behavioral Science Unit was not in existence in 1972.

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rashore

A jimmy is an suv made by GMC.

This is an interesting crime. Does it seem that the three were tortured perhaps for info? Seems very strange to use the tub in a robbery. It seems someone wanted them dead, but wanted them to suffer. Wonder if there were rumors of a safe in the house around the dealership? Remember In Cold Blood when rumors of large stashes of cash in a safe spread in prison led to that killing. I wonder if the FBI has ever profiled this case since their Behavioral Science Unit was not in existence in 1972.

Welcome to UM :st

Not likely it was a robbery- the bank bags of money weren't touched and what little silver was taken was left in the Jimmy when it was dumped. The FBI BSU was established in 1972, but FBI profilers didn't look at the case till 82-83.

Edited by rashore
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Regi

I wouldn't think the tub was used for torture because the floor was reportedly dry and I wouldn't expect that.

Btw, that was a good observation by investigators. I think that circumstance would also support that the two drowning deaths occurred because the victims were unconscious due to the strangling rather than conscious when drowned. I think it's even possible that the water wasn't turned on until after the placement of the victims.

The tying is an intriguing aspect, but first, I'm not clear on who was tied nor how so. It was reported that the victims were hog-tied- which I know is wrists to ankles- but Mrs. Durham was claimed to have been capable of making a phone as late as (approx.)10:15. :huh:

Edited by regi

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mbrn30000

Regi thanks for that info. I also wonder about the phone call. The son in law called back and got a busy. If the line had been pulled out, wouldn't it just ring on his side? I have often read that when people kill someone they know, such as a family member, they often do not want to be the one who discovers the bodies. I have heard they seek someone else to either go check or take them along. I wonder if the police actually checked to see if the car did not start. I also wonder why the son in law did not call the police before rushing over. Since reading about this story I have seen other sites talking about it, where people cast the son in law in a very negative light with a past. Not sure if true, since i have not found that in news stories. My thought about torture was not for tortures sake but perhaps to extract information or force an action. Perhaps a gun was used to subdue them, then they were tied. The beating came when they were no longer able to defend. Where was this man's will kept? Was it in the house? And what did it say?

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rashore

Back then, it was all landlines for phones. If the line was taken out of the wall while the call was in-progress, it might be read as an on-going call, giving a busy signal. Kind of like leaving the phone off the hook.

I think everyone that has read this case is struck by the oddity of the lack of calling the police till after the discovery of the bodies.

It would be interesting to know if the police checked in on the car starting or not. I would like to think they did since it seems to be part of an alibi for the Halls. However, there is a dearth of information about what exactly the Halls and Mr. Small did after the 911 call was finally placed.

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mbrn30000

Regi i am not sure it would be busy. I was a kid in 1972 and remember the landlines back then. I still am not sure if it was ripped out, the call would still stay engaged for very long. But i really don't know for sure. It would have been interesting if the cops actually tried a call to see if it would show busy. It seems both the halls had the most to benefit from the deaths. I think this case could be solved if any of the physical evidence has survived. Have you heard anything about Hall's previous marriage. There was something about a death of his ex wife or his ex girlfriend I read. Will have to go back and find it. Sometimes what something looks like is exactly what it is.

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rashore

While wandering around, found this fascinating non-UM forum thread:

http://www.gowilkes.com/voice/who-killed-the-durham-family-heres-my-story/77993/?startview=180&h=172523

Its from 2010, lots of gossip and some interesting article sharing. Some articles I haven't seen before, including one naming suspects in the case. I think it well worth the read through.

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mbrn30000

rashore...i will give it a look this weekend. thanks.

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Regi

Regi i am not sure it would be busy. I was a kid in 1972 and remember the landlines back then. I still am not sure if it was ripped out, the call would still stay engaged for very long. But i really don't know for sure. It would have been interesting if the cops actually tried a call to see if it would show busy.

I think it's possible there would have been a busy signal, but I wouldn't doubt that he actually did make that call.

The thing for me is his story about the call... and that he'd question whether the call was a joke because there was nothing about the circumstances which would lend to that line of thinking.

I think his reaction to the call and his actions afterward could only make sense if he questioned whether or not the call was actually from Mrs. Durham, but from what I've read about it, that doesn't appear to be the scenario he presented to authorities.

Have you heard anything about Hall's previous marriage. There was something about a death of his ex wife or his ex girlfriend I read. Will have to go back and find it. Sometimes what something looks like is exactly what it is.

I know very few facts about Hall.

I'd like to reference newspaper articles but I found out I don't have online access to those archives. It wouldn't be a problem for a local.

Edited by regi

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