Revisiting the mysterious death of Zachary Smith Reynolds 90 years later

Piedmont Triad News

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (WGHP) – Ninety years ago, 20-year-old Zachary Smith Reynolds – the youngest son of multi-millionaire R.J. Reynolds – married actress and singer Libby Holman.  

Months later, the pair moved back to the Reynolds home in Winston-Salem, the Reynolda House. In July 1932, Reynolds and Holman threw a party. Around 12:45 a.m., a single gunshot rang out. Hours later, Reynolds was pronounced dead.  

“The most notorious day in the history of this house, in a way its most famous day, but also its saddest day,” Reynolda House Deputy Director Phil Archer said.

Although originally ruled a suicide, further examination determined Reynolds’ cause of death to be “death by person or persons unknown,” Archer detailed. 

A grand jury then brought first-degree murder charges against Holman and Reynolds’ childhood friend. However, at the request of the Reynolds family, the case would be dropped. Although the case garnered massive national coverage, during a time where Americans were in the midst of the Great Depression, Reynolds’ death remains unsolved to this day. 

In the video above, we revisit the case.  

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