Investigate My Son's Suspicious Death
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In 2012 my son Hank Few disappeared under suspicious circumstances. From the beginning, we received no help or interest from the local authorities, who even called off the search for him. As a result I had to search the woods myself. I found his body, in a condition that clearly indicated foul play, in the woods in Transylvania County. Since then, we have been through a nightmare of disinformation and disinterest from local and state authorities. His death was pronounced an accidental overdose, despite conflicting results from the medical examiner. My family has contacted the Attorney General, the State Bureau of Investigation, the Governor and the DA and gotten nothing but silence, form letters and insults in return.
The past five years have been a journey of discovery about the brokenness of our judicial system in North Carolina. According to the Charlotte Observer, our medical examiner system is one of the worst in the country, relying on phoned-in reports from untrained physicians, and with many breaks in the chain of evidence. This was certainly true in Hank's case, and because of my continuing to press for answers, many people in the area have come to me with similar stories of relatives or friends who died suspicious deaths but were pronounced suicides or accidents.
The mountainous area surrounding the resort towns of Brevard, Sapphire and Cashiers is a playground for the ultrarich, and local governments have a vested interest in making sure crime statistics remain low. The truth on the ground is quite different. In my work with the local soup kitchen I see families priced out of their ancestral homes by high land values, joblessness, poor educational resources, and rampant drug addiction, particularly to meth. Young people like my son who run afoul of the law -- and he did have his problems, but he was very young and there was still hope for him -- are a very low priority for law enforcement. I have learned that we are not alone in seeking legal redress for a relative who was almost certainly murdered. A look at local crime statistics poses some interesting questions: while this part of NC has seen a boom in population, murder rates have fallen by as much as 20% (for the 20 - 25 age cohort, Hank's age group). Meanwhile the NC rate of "unintentional overdose" death has skyrocketed by 106%. It is easy for law enforcement to pass off the death of a young person without wealthy family connections as "just another druggie:" it's less work for them and keeps their community's crime profile pristine for the real estate trade.
As a result of a civil lawsuit I came into possession of a 911 recording of someone reporting to Transylvania Sheriff Gale Mackey that his child had witnessed the killing of Hank Few. This piece of evidence, coupled with confessions made to me personally by members of the perpetrators' families, place the commission of the crime in Jackson County. However, no one in the Sheriff's department or DA's office, in Transylvania or Jackson will talk to me, answer an email, or return a phone call. This is the challenge of this petition: Meet with me, review the case materials I have amassed over the past five years. To call this case closed is a grave miscarriage of justice.
I will continue to fight to be heard, if only because I do not want my grandchildren to think a parent left them via suicide or carelessness. If, as a result, other families will come forward and seek justice, that will be a wider social benefit. Poor Appalachian people mistrust the law, and for good reason, I now realize. This would be a step toward showing that law enforcement is not just for the folks in the gated golf course communities.
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