A North Carolina Triple Murder Has Been Solved After 50 Years

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Authorities said the son of one of the perpetrators remembered a story that his dad had told him about the murders.

A North Carolina triple murder was solved when the son of one of the perpetrators shared a story with the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office about a murder his father had taken part in, NBC News reported. Bryce Durham, 51, his wife, Virginia, 44, and son Bobby, 18, were found murdered in a bathtub in their home on Feb. 3, 1972 in a case that became known as the “Durham Case.”

Virginia died of strangulation while Bryce and Bobby were drowned, according to the Charlotte Observer.  But, for 50 years the crime remained unsolved.

On Tuesday, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office in Boone, North Carolina, announced the case had been solved. The killers have been identified as Billy Sunday Birt, Bobby Gene Gaddis, Charles David Reed, and Billy Wayne Davis. The only living member of the crew is Davis, who is now 81 and is imprisoned in Augusta, Georgia, according to authorities.

Birt’s son, Shane Birt, told police that his father had once told him during a prison visit that he killed three people in the North Carolina mountains during a snowstorm and almost got caught. Authorities realized the case sounded like the triple homicide that had remained unsolved.

After interviewing Davis, who is serving a life sentence in prison, on a few separate occasions authorities determined that the murder was reportedly carried out by the “Dixie Mafia,” which took part in violent crimes in Georgia in the 60s and 70s. The murderers of Bryce, Virginia, and Bobby were reportedly hired for a “hit” on the family, according to police, but it’s not clear who hired the hit. Davis told police he was the getaway driver and the other three men had entered the house.

Ginny Durham, the couple's daughter, was grateful for a resolve to the case and acknowledged the endless hours put in on it, NBC News reported.

“I would like to thank all of the people who worked for decades on my family’s case. I know that they sacrificed many days and weekends in order to work on solving this case since 1972," Durham said.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, Boone Police Department, Georgia Bureau of Investigation and Appalachian State University Police Department all helped with the case, according to the sheriff’s office.  

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