North Carolina – 19 year old woman found shot to death near her car

North Carolina – 19 year old woman found shot to death near her car


Hickory, North Carolina

The body of 19 year old Rhonda Hinson was found several feet away from her car December 23, 1981, after having been shot by someone who was using a high powered rifle, in the middle of the night.  

The case remains unsolved to this day.


Oddly, it would appear that Rhonda had been shot while driving because the bullet passed through the trunk of her car, back seat, driver seat and through to her heart.

Her car was found on the side of the road, drivers side door open but her body was several feet away from the car. 

According to local rumors she did not walk from the car, but rather someone removed her from the car which has left the door of speculation and suspicion wide open ever since.

A witness did come forward and state that they saw a dark colored Trans-AM/Chevy near where Rhonda’s body and car were found.

Folks in town say that investigators questioned everyone with a dark colored Trans-AM/Vehicle yet came up empty handed.

Rhonda’s mother said that her daughter had been acting strangely in the weeks leading up to her murder, she even asked her mother about dating a married man which many speculated meant that Rhonda herself was in fact dating a married man.  

Of course that led to more speculation through the community, many fearing she had been killed over an alleged extramarital affair she had been having with someone.

This is a case that has no forensic evidence, no motive, no weapon, and no witnesses who could identify a suspect.

The biggest question in the case other than who it was that shot Rhonda is why carry her body from her car?

Was it the shooter or another witness and regardless of who, why

Could it have been to make it look as if she was trying to get help or was someone attempting to save her life only to realize it was far too late to do so?

In looking at the area Rhonda was shot in, it was more or less rural at the time of her death. Given the time of year, I would suspect that quite a bit of hunting was going on which included poaching.

According to investigators, they did recover some DNA from a sweater Rhonda had been wearing but let’s be honest, the DNA could be from anyone and not related to her murder at all. She had attended a holiday party the night of her murder.

Some assume that her murder was the work of some psychotic random killer, but I don’t know of many that could pull off such a stroke of luck by shooting a woman through the trunk of her car, in the heart from a great distance using a high powered rifle.

The married man scenario is possible however, they’d do away with the wife before the lover in most cases.

Hunters who practice in the art of spotlighting could be responsible as well. Spotlighting if you don’t know is where a hunter will use a bright light to stun his prey before bringing it down with a bullet or arrow.

My gut says that Rhonda’s murder was a horrible accident.

Either someone was out spotlighting or it was just simply someone out screwing around.

The case for spotlighting doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because she was shot from behind and would have swerved had a bright light appeared in her rear-view mirror thus potentially saving her life.

This was someone who was young at the time, out screwing around, possibly meant to only shoot out a taillight and missed the light, killing the driver.

It very well could have been more than one young man as well. Some witnesses claim to have seen two different individuals near the car around the time of Rhonda’s death.

The individual (s) either tried to save her or hide her in an effort to cover up the accidental shooting.

In either scenario he or they panicked and from that moment on, they went on to live life as if this accident never happened.

But for one, most likely not without torment and pain.

One does not touch death without it affecting them to the very core.

This individual had some shred of decency, some small shred of humanity even though he choose not to come forward.

Because he was young at the time, someone would have seen a change no matter how subtle, in his behavior, it was an accident after all.

This individual was never quite free of the memory of what he had once done.

And it is for that reason that this individual most likely found ways to mask the emotional turmoil he felt for having killed someone.

Because of that, it is possible that he might one day be willing to finally come forward with the truth of what it was he had once done, provided his in the right frame of mind to do so.

For this individual, the burden of what happened is almost at times simply too much to take.

Cristal M Clark

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