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“A lifetime of hope”: family and friends of NC rape, murder victim gather nearly 40 years after her death

CLEMMONS, N.C. -- Family and friends of a rape and murder victim gathering Saturday to commemorate her life.

Investigators found Ronda Blaylock’s body in a wooded area off Sechrist Loop in Pilot Mountain nearly forty years ago.

“Today is a commemoration that surrounds the entire family,” said Kevin Thomas, Ronda’s cousin.

Family and friends gathered to remember Ronda, honor her parents who have passed away and thank investigators for their work tracking down her alleged killer.

The Surry County Sheriff’s Office arrested 62-year-old Robert Adkins for her murder last month.

Investigators say 14-year-old Blaylock got into a man’s blue pick-up truck with a friend. The friend was dropped off, but Ronda never made it home.

“As a child being so young, you don’t have the memory or capacity to understand why that commotion and then nothing,” Thomas said. “It was questions that were never answered for many years as we were growing up as children.”

The Surry County Sheriff’s Office charged Adkins with first-degree murder and first-degree forcible rape.

“It was a relief to a lot of people who knew the family, who knew Ronda 39 years ago to get an answer,” Thomas said. “We don’t have closure. Sometimes closure doesn’t happen in a lifetime, but we are one step closer to moving forward.”

Ronda’s family members say they plan to follow the case against Robert Adkins as it moves through the court system.

They want to make sure he stays in jail for the rest of his life.

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