What happened to Charlotte newlywed killed 40 years ago? - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

What happened to Charlotte newlywed killed 40 years ago?

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CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) -

Back in 1972, Sylvia Newman was a 22-year-old newlywed living in north Charlotte. 

Her husband returned home one night to find their front door slightly open, the house in disarray and his wife missing. 

It was an active missing person's case until a-year-and-a-half later, in 1974, when Sylvia's body was discovered in a wooded area in Fort Mill.

In the 40 years since, there have been no arrests and no clues.  CMPD tells us the last time Sylvia's case was reviewed was 2005.

"I remember her file," said CMPD Cold Case Unit Detective David Phillips, when he sat down to chat with us.  "The fact it has been reviewed is further than some of our cold cases get.  We have 600 open cold cases right now.  With this one, now that you've called, we've pulled it back out again."

We called CMPD about Newman after one of you reached out to us.  Betty Hinson sent a private Facebook message to Anchor Molly Grantham.

"A girl that graduated with us at Garinger High School was found dead decades ago," she wrote. "Her father was a really popular CMS principal.  Her case was never solved.  So many of us would love to know what happened.  Can you help?"

That request led us to CMPD's cold case unit. 

Detective Phillips said the night Newman disappeared in April 1972, her husband, a part-time student, was at class at UNC-Charlotte. 

When he returned to their home in Bishop's Trailer Park off Mallard Creek Road it appeared there had been a struggle.  His wife was gone. 

One of the only clues police say they have is a neighbor saw a strange car in their neighborhood.  Detective Phillips says that car was something that looked like a '68 or '70 Galaxy.

"We think this abduction/homicide occurred somewhere between 8:30pm and 11:30pm that night," Phillips said.

Another notable fact is all four pairs of Newman's eyeglasses were still at home.  She needed them to see.  It indicates she didn't leave willingly.

In 1974, a man riding a dirt bike came across Newman's body in a wooded area off Highway 160.  Her skeletal remains showed trauma.

"How did she get out of her mobile home?", asks Phillips.  "Was she abducted?  Did she leave on her own and something went bad?  We don't have the answers to those questions."

Detective Phillips did say they questioned the husband thoroughly, but he had an alibi and was never charged.

We took all that information back to Betty Hinson.

"I just cannot stand to think that someone's loved one has that done to them, and the family never gets closure," she said.  "It's hard enough for her past classmates to not know.  I can't imagine that for her sisters and family.  It's just horrible."  

Other Garinger alumni are also asking questions on a private group Facebook page Hinson is on called, "Remembering our Garinger Wildcats".  Lots of questions and speculation on the page.  No posters have specific information. 

"I'm optimistic this can be solved," said Detective Phillips.  "I truly believe we have some stuff in this file that would point us to the person responsible for it IF that person is still around.  Who knows."

CMPD would love to talk with you if you think you remember anything about this case, or if you know something that at the time you didn't think was important or couldn't be said, but now four decades later could help.

Call the CMPD Cold Case Unit Hotline:  704-336-2358

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