The death of a woman found in a barrel at the bottom of a pond is ruled an accident, but her family believes she was murdered.
On Wednesday, December 25, 1985, after completing her shift at the hospital, Debbie Wolfe of Fayetteville, North Carolina, left work, presumably heading home. According to Debbie’s mother, Jenny Edwards:
Debbie’s parents and a family friend named Kevin Gorton hurried over to her house, an isolated cabin, four miles outside Fayetteville. Knowing that Debbie took good care of her home and her pets, Debbie’s mother was surprised by what they found:
Debbie’s purse was not in its usual place. Kevin found it shoved under her bed. There was also an odd message on Debbie’s answering machine recorded earlier that day. A man from the hospital was calling to see how Debbie was doing. He mentioned that she had missed many days of work. This made no sense to Debbie’s mother:
The search continued outside the cabin and around a nearby pond. There were no signs of Debbie. Debbie’s mother called the Sheriff’s office and was told they would investigate only after Debbie had been missing for three days. But five days passed before authorities began a full-scale search:
Captain Jack Watts of the Cumberland County Sheriff’s Department:
Jenny Edwards decided to hire her own divers. On January 1, 1986, Kevin Gorton and another friend, Gordon Childress, returned to the pond. Both men were familiar with rescue work. Childress dragged the pond looking for evidence. According to Kevin Gorton:
In fact, according to Gordon Childress, he found two sets of footprints pressed into the thick mud, along with the drag marks. Once he went under the murky water, it wasn’t long before Childress came across a body:
The police were called to the scene. The dead woman was identified as Debbie Wolfe.
Capt. Jack Watts proposed a theory:
As the investigation continued, Debbie’s mother said, police began to deny that Debbie’s body had been found inside of a barrel:
Capt. Jack Watts denies there ever was a barrel:
Gordon Childress is certain of what he saw:
Jenny Edwards then recalled a barrel she had seen near Debbie’s cabin:
A few months later, Jenny discovered another inconsistency:
Debbie’s family became convinced that she had been murdered. One of Debbie’s responsibilities at work was coordinating the hospital’s volunteers. According to Jenny Edwards:
Jenny is convinced that this was the man who called Debbie the day after she disappeared, expressing concern that she’d been missing from work. Capt. Watts says the man was investigated:
Jenny Edwards said the volunteer had since left the area:
What really happened to Debbie Wolfe? Her mother believes she was taken hostage and then murdered. She believes that, later, someone returned to the pond to remove the barrel, so that the death would seem accidental:
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.