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COLD CASE: Newspaper employee found strangled on Christmas Day 1973

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Sheriff Kevin Auten's recent focus of cold cases that go back several years has just been expanded to take on a case from 1973, which involves a missing woman who was found strangled and dumped in the woods off Interstate 85 near Lane Street.

Three hunters found the body of 19-year-old Dema Rose Wilson Shoffner, of Randolph County, on Christmas Day 1973.

According to the article in The Salisbury Post at the time, and according to investigators, Shoffner's body was difficult to identify.  The body was dressed in a blouse and skirt, but the underwear was missing.  

Shoffner, an employee of the Greensboro News and Record, had been reported missing in November when she disappeared from a stretch of the US 220 bypass near Level Cross.  

Shoffner was on the way home after shopping for Christmas presents.

Forty years later, the case is getting a fresh look.  

Investigator Chad Moose has begun gathering facts on the case and has made a request from the State Medical Examiner's Office for any evidence or autopsy information.  

"I've never been able to find out nothing," Dema's mother, Ruby Wilson, told WBTV on Tuesday. "I would like to find out for sure who did, because in my mind I know."

Shoffner was married to Timothy Van Shoffner at the time.  WBTV discovered that Shoffner had worked in the racing industry following the death of his wife and that he died in 2007.

In 1973 Timothy Shoffner was an active member of a motorcycle group known as "The Chessmen," but little is known about that group today.

"It would be great to know that after 40 years it's not totally forgotten," Wilson added.  "I like to watch these forensic programs and it's a lot of times when these years pass they find out a lot of things."

Anyone with any information on the case is asked to call the Rowan Sheriff's Office at 704-216-8700, or Salisbury-Rowan Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245.

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