Ashe sheriff: Body found; believed
to be missing man
Williams: Hammer expected to be charged
By Joel Frady
It’s been almost two and half years since Jimmy Lee Blevins was last seen. Since then, the search for Blevins and answers to the many questions posed by his disappearance have led to a series of dead-ends for law enforcement.
That series is finally over, however, as Ashe County Sheriff James Williams has announced that the long search for Jimmy Blevins ended Tuesday.
“We discovered today what we believe to be the remains of Jimmy Blevins,” Williams said shortly after 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The body was found in a secluded, wooded area on Highway 88 West near the Clifton community.
The find comes one week after Williams, Lt. Peyton Colvard (who was assigned to the Blevins case), Detective William Sands (assigned to the murder case of Tim Shatley) and Donna Shumate, an attorney for Frederick Phillip Hammer, traveled to the Powhatan Correctional Facility in Richmond, Va., to interview Hammer.
“As a result of that interview, the recovery was made,” said Williams.
Frederick Phillip Hammer
In May, shortly after Hammer received seven consecutive life sentences for the January 2008 murders of Ronald Frederick Hudler, Frederick Donald Hudler and John Steve Miller, Williams said that Hammer was the primary suspect in the Blevins case.
After his sentencing at the Grayson County Courthouse in Independence, Va., Hammer said that he “had nothing to do” with Blevins’ disappearance.
Williams said that Hammer will be charged with murder in the Blevins case, and that there might be more charges forthcoming.
The State Bureau of Investigation’s Crime Lab is currently in the process of removing the body from the dig site. Williams said “once the body is removed, he will be transported to the medical examiner’s office in Chapel Hill for positive identification.”
For Williams, Colvard and the rest of the Sheriff’s Department, the find is a welcome end to a 29-month investigation.
“We’ve been obsessed with finding Jimmy” ever since he disappeared, Williams said. “We left no stone unturned and we’ve done everything we know to do, and finally we were able to put it together.
“I’m so happy for the family,” Williams later added. “Jimmy’s mother had no grave to go to and no idea of what happened to her son. I’m just so thankful that we could bring this to a conclusion for them.”
Hammer also confessed to the murder of Shatley, who was found at the intersection of N.C. Highway 16 and Old Field Creek Road in Grassy Creek on Nov. 19, 2005. Despite Hammer’s confession, Williams is skeptical.
“There are issues with his confession that trouble us,” said Williams. “There are certain things that we always hold back that only the murderer would know, and only we know, so that when we’re talking to somebody we know we’re talking to the one that actually did it.
“He was vague in some areas and we’re not convinced he was telling the truth about that at this point,” Williams continued. He noted that the case is still under investigation.
Pick up a copy of next week’s Ashe Mountain Times for further coverage of this developing story, or click to www.mountaintimes.com.