Details of Disappearance
Hall was a freshman at Radford University in 1980, enrolled in the summer session. She was last seen after she went out dancing with friends at the Marriott nightclub in Radford, Virginia on June 28, 1980. One of her companions, Stephen Epperly, who taught at Radford University, convinced her to go with him to a cabin at Claytor Lake. A photo of him is posted with this case summary.
When questioned by police, Epperly said he and Hall had gone to the cabin and she called her sister and stated she would be home in the morning. Hall's sister stated the call came between 1:00 and 1:30 a.m., and Hall sounded nervous at the time. According to Epperly, he went swimming but Hall did not. Afterwards they left the cabin and Hall dropped him off in Radford, and he went to bed. Hall has never been heard from again.
When police examined the cabin, they discovered that someone had tried to clean up, but bloodstains in Hall's type were apparent in several places, both outside and inside. A striped towel, a blue towel, a quilt, a bath mat and some cleaning supplies were missing. Epperly could provide no explanation.
Hall's sister's brown Chevrolet Monte Carlo, which Hall had been driving that night, was found abandoned at the Pulaski County end of the railroad trestle over the New River.
The driver's seat was pushed all the way back; Hall was so short that she had to drive with the seat pushed all the way forward. There were bloodstains and hairs inside the trunk; the blood was Hall's type, O, and the hairs were consistent with her. A photo of the car is posted with this case summary.
A bloodstained blue towel was found near the car; it was identified as Epperly's and contained fibers consistent with those from the carpet at the Claytor Lake cabin. One of Hall's shoes was found at the opposite end of the railroad trestle.
Two weeks later, searchers found the second missing towel and the clothing Hall had been wearing the night of her disappearance. They were lying on the riverbank near where her car had been. The clothes had been tied up in a bundle and were bloodstained, although not ripped or torn. The clothing items had head hairs similar to Hall's and pubic hairs similar to Epperly's, as well as carpet fibers. The other items missing from the house were never recovered.
Epperly was charged with Hall's murder later in 1980. Although the murder weapon was never found, investigators theorized he stabbed or beat Hall to death after she refused his sexual advances. He did not present any witnesses at trial. Though he maintained his innocence in her case, he was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison. He is still incarcerated.
Hall's remains have never been found, but foul play is suspected in her case due to the circumstances involved. Her case was the first murder conviction without a body in Virginia history.