By Debbie Hall
A fresh set of eyes sifting through old evidence may be a key in solving the 2013 deaths of Ricky Eugene Dodson and Vicky Harbour Purdy, according to Franklin County Sheriff’s Lt. J.P. Nolen.
Holly Willoughby, a former Roanoke detective now serving with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, has been assigned to the case, Nolen said.
She will bring a “fresh set of eyes” and help “to move forward with this” case, he added.
Franklin County Commonwealth’s Attorney A.J. Dudley also assigned one of his assistants “to work strictly on this case,” Nolen said.
Dodson and Purdy, both 53 and of the Bassett area of Henry County, were last seen alive by family on Oct. 4, 2013.
Polly Dodson and Frances Hylton, Dodson’s mother and sister, have said they believe the two planned to spend the weekend together.
Purdy’s remains were found Oct. 6, 2013, inside a burned vehicle on Philpott Road, near the Franklin County/Henry County line. She suffered a gunshot wound to the head, according to authorities.
Dodson’s remains were found in the Henry area of Franklin County on Dec. 5, 2013. Authorities have declined to provide information about the manner of death.
So far, there have been no arrests in the case, but the investigation remains active, Nolen said.
“A lot of the people” who may be involved or have information about the deaths lived in Henry County, Nolen said. “One issue we’re having right now is some of the witnesses have moved out of the area. The witnesses we had at that time have even moved out of Henry County.”
Some witnesses also have been uncooperative, Nolen said.
“We feel like we know what may have occurred,” Nolen said, but declined to provide specifics in the active investigation.
“We are doing everything we can” to get closure for the families and resolve the case, he said. “We believe having fresh eyes on it” will help. “We haven’t given up.”
Because the two were found in Franklin County, authorities there are tasked with the investigation.
Henry County Sheriff Lane Perry said his office assists as needed.
Anyone with information in the case is encouraged to call the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office at (540) 483-3000 or in Henry County, (276) 638-8751.