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The Franklin News-Post
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Rocky Mount, Virginia 24151
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Death of Bassett woman detailed in affidavit
Documents unsealed in Purdy, Dodson case
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Vicky Harbour Purdy

Friday, February 28, 2014


A Bassett woman whose remains were found in a burned car had suffered a gunshot wound to the head, according to an affidavit filed for an October search warrant.

Vicky Harbour Purdy and Ricky Eugene Dodson, both 53 and both of Bassett, were last seen Oct. 4.

Purdy's remains were found Oct. 6 inside a burned vehicle on Philpott Road in Franklin County near the Henry County line.

Dodson's remains were found Dec. 5 in the Henry area of Franklin County.

When identifying the remains, the medical examiner's office found that Purdy's skull contained a small-caliber bullet, according to the affidavit.

The warrant and the affidavit had been sealed for 90 days at the request of Franklin County Commonwealth's Attorney Tim Allen, court records showed. The warrants were executed and filed in Henry County and have since been unsealed.

According to the affidavit, family members and associates of Purdy indicated to police she had a substance abuse problem.

Henry County Sheriff's Investigator Mike Hooper stated that in the days before Oct. 4, Purdy contacted investigators in Henry County about providing information on drug activity in the Bassett area, the affidavit stated.

Purdy had given drug information in the past and used a digital audio recorder, according to court documents.

One of Purdy's relatives told authorities that Purdy always carried a silver-colored audio recorder, but the recorder was not found with Purdy's remains or in the burned vehicle, the affidavit stated.

However, a silver-colored recorder was among items seized in a search of a Bassett home on Oct. 16, records showed. Items seized also included a swab of brown stain, trunk liner from a car, a black stocking cap, jacket, mask, two swabs of red stain, blue jeans that belonged to a man and DNA buccal swabs from two people.

A man who lives in that home told two Franklin County sheriff's investigators that Purdy and Dodson were at his home on Oct. 4 "to pick up an item," the affidavit stated. Dodson had not been seen since that meeting.

Purdy's cell telephone data contained text messages to that man's cell phone that indicated she was buying products and owed him money, the affidavit stated.

Also, Dodson's phone records show the last call made on his phone was at 9:33 a.m. Oct. 4 near the Bassett home that was searched.

The Bassett resident's cell phone records also showed the man received a text message at 12:46 a.m. Oct. 5, the affidavit stated. The message read: "Hey I Thought. U we're going to burn some s--t," according to the affidavit.

The response came two minutes later -- at 12:48 a.m., the affidavit showed. It said, "I have been... jus be quiet and let me finish damitt."

No arrests have been made in the case.

Traci Cooper, district administrator in the medical examiner's office, declined to release Dodson's cause of death.

"We have been asked by the Franklin County Sheriff's Office not to release any information and to refer all calls to their office," Cooper said.

Franklin County Sheriff's Capt. Paul Caldwell declined to comment on the cause of Dodson's death. He said the case is complex because some of the people authorities are contacting do not live in Franklin County.

However, investigators are following up on all leads, he said, and added there "are some similarities" between Purdy's and Dodson's deaths.

Anyone with information is asked to call Caldwell at (540) 352-5174 or the anonymous crime line at (540) 344-8500.

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