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Friends Of Slain Antique Dealer Seek Answers

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WILSON, N.C. — A popular local antique dealer was killed in his home nearly four years ago. His family and friends said it appears the case is at a standstill, and they are trying to help investigators generate leads.

Friends and co-workers at the Wilson antique shop where 79-year-old Jim Jefferson worked say the pain is still fresh.

"He's never out of our minds. He was one of the most pleasant easy-going gentle men you'd ever meet," said Edna Earl Raper, Jefferson's friend and co-worker.

Jefferson was found strangled in his Pitt County home in November 2000. Raper and other close friends said they are frustrated that no one has been arrested for the crime.

"It's a big hole in your heart, and it's also scary to know that someone is out there that did this," Raper said.

Jefferson's friends and family hoped DNA collected from the crime scene would lead to a quick arrest, but lab results came back months ago and investigators say they still do not have a suspect.

"It's frustrating for us because we always want to solve all crimes quickly, especially one of this nature," said Chief James Tripp, of the Pitt County Sheriff's Office.

Investigators will not say much about the case, but they admit they have not received any new leads for a while. Meanwhile, Jefferson's friends said they keep getting questions about the case.

"We daily get people coming in and calling and asking what progress has been made and I don't mean just North Carolina people, people from all over the United States," Raper said.

If you have any information in the case, you are asked to contact the Pitt County Sheriff's Office. One of Jefferson's friends is offering a reward for information leading to an arrest.


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