Usually the sort crimes that peak my interest are ones I share some geographic or personal tie with. In the case of Angela Hamby, the places she frequented and lived are local to me. In fact, the restaurant where her car was found, now called Glenn’s Restaurant is one I’ve eaten at myself, and I’ve taken some classes at the same college where she was enrolled.
It also seems perplexing that a young woman could go missing in the Wilkes community and never be seen or heard from again. Despite crime in the local area and drug-related crimes even back then being a source of trouble, the abduction and likely murder of a 20 year old woman hits differently.
Account from The Charley Project:
Hamby left her home in Wilkesboro, North Carolina at 9:30 a.m. on October 29, 1982 to make a car payment for herself and a deposit for her mother at the NCNB Bank. Afterwards, she planned to deliver a message to her sister who was up the street from the bank, then return home to go on an out-of-town shopping trip with her mother.
When Hamby didn’t arrive home by noon, her mother called the bank and discovered she’d never made it there. She also hadn’t been to see her sister. She has never been heard from again.
Later that day, Hamby’s silver 1980 Mazda RX7 was found unlocked and abandoned at Glenn`s Tastee Freeze in Wilkesboro. It was parked in the back, near the dumpsters. It had a full tank of gas and her pocketbook and driver’s license were inside the car, but her keys were gone and so was the money she’d been carrying.
Witnesses reported Hamby was seen at 11:30 a.m., driving her car to the location where it was found. She was accompanied by a “rough-looking” blond man at the time, and was talking to him. She has never been heard from again. A sketch of the suspect is posted with this case summary.
Hamby is described as a dependable person who would not have left without telling anyone. She graduated from West Wilkes High School and took a job in data processing at Northwestern Bank on Oakwood Road. She also enrolled at Wilkes Community College and hoped to transfer to Appalachian State University.
Two suspects were investigated for possible involvement in Hamby’s case in 1987, but they turned out to have been incarcerated at the time of her disappearance. Her case remains unsolved.
It’s been hard finding much information about this case outside of the standard entries on Charley Project and places like Websleuths.
In particular, I tried to determine where NCNB Bank was in relation to the Tastee Freeze. From what little info I have been able to dig up, it’s likely the bank was located at 200 West Main Street, where what was most recently a Bank of America (what NCNB eventually became) used to be until it closed in 2017. If this was the location of the former NCNB where Hamby originally set out for, it’s less than a mile from the Tastee Freeze where her car was eventually found.
The timeline leaves room for a lot to happen. For one, it doesn’t take two hours to travel from where Hamby lived to the area of the bank/Tastee Freeze. And, despite being in the area, she never actually made it to the bank.
This leads one to believe she likely stopped somewhere else before she was going to make the deposits. It’s likely that where ever she stopped, or whoever she met was the key to her disappearance.
One thing that strikes me as odd is that her car is found at the Tastee Freeze on a Friday near lunch time. It’s hard for me to say what traffic at the restaurant was like back then, but today, something strange going on in the parking lot would be noticed by the numerous people who are in and out during the lunchtime rush. It seems that someone would have seen something even back then.
There have been rumblings in the community through the years about what might have happened. The old “police involvement” trope has been bandied about with no real substance.
Police themselves have admitted the case is still active in some way beyond the two initial suspects they questioned in 1987. I believe most recently they looked into serial killer Christopher J Below after receiving a tip from Websleuths noting his similarity to the composite drawing. To date nothing has come of that. The Wilkesboro Police department noted on it’s facebook in July, 2020 they were actively investigating other leads.
Angela’s father, Jerry, unfortunately passed away at the age of 81 in 2019 without ever knowing what happened to his daughter. I believe her mother is still living at the time I am writing this in 2021. Certainly Angela’s mother and her sister Cheryl would like closure.
If you have any information about the disappearance of Angela Gray Hamby from Wilkesboro, NC in 1982, please contact the Wilkes County Sheriff’s office via their tip line at 336-667-8900 or submit a tip online via http://wilkescounty.crimestoppersweb.com/.