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On Aug. 26, 1980, 14-year-old Ronda Blaylock disappeared shortly after leaving her high school. In the days that followed, her family and friends searched for her in the area of her hometown, Rural Hall. They had hoped to bring her home alive.

The Murder of Ronda Blaylock

Ronda was walking home from Atkins High School when she disappeared. Three days later her body was found partially clothed in a heavily wooded area near Sechrist Loop Road in Pilot Mountain.

The autopsy report indicated she was raped and stabbed to death.

Witnesses told police Ronda and her friend accepted a ride from a man driving a dark blue 1970s model pickup truck.

As an appalled community wrapped their minds around the vicious crime, detectives released information on a suspect. The killer, however, remained at large.

Cold case solved

More than three decades later, a group of seasoned detectives took over the case. Together, they re-examined old evidence, submitted new evidence and reinvented how the case was investigated. Nearly 40 years after her death, all roads led to a 62-year-old man, who was living mere miles away from the sheriff’s office.

Robert James Adkins was arrested on Aug. 2, 2019, and charged with first-degree murder and first-degree forcible rape.

In December 2020, he was sentenced to a minimum of 21 years and a maximum of 25 years in prison.