40 years later, some of Gina Hall’s remains found in Pulaski County

Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 6:15 AM EDT
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RADFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - It’s been forty years since Gina Renee Hall was murdered in Pulaski County. Her murderer, Steve Epperly, was convicted but a body was never found. Within the last few months, Gina’s older sister, Diana Hall Bodmer, with help of a forensic anthropologist out of Tennessee, has found some of Gina’s DNA and remains.

In 2016, Bodmer said a farmer’s grandson reported to the Radford Police Department that his family had held a secret since 1980. He said his grandfather had witnessed what he believed to be two men dismembering a body in Meadow Creek and they were driving a white van and he believed the woman to be Gina Hall. That’s what sparked her journey for Gina’s body.

“And that’s when the miracles began, that’s when the truth came unveiled - that’s when the pieces of the puzzle started showing up and just started fitting together and I now have the truth. It’s like if I need something or I need another piece of the puzzle, it comes.”

Despite a conviction for the murderer, she still wants closure. That’s why last year, a vigil for Gina brought a new sense of hope. Dlana was introduced to Dr. Arpad Vass, a forensic anthropologist who had invented an instrument to detect DNA buried beneath the surface. Since then, Gina’s remains have been discovered across eight locations throughout the New River Valley using that device.

“What we would do is take each one of those locations and start zeroing in by the miles and I would just pull over and let him out and let him just scan until he narrowed in right until the feet right to the very location,” said Bodmer.

They’ve found Gina’s DNA on top of Draper Mountain at a lake house on Claytor Lake, off Hazelhollow Road, along Meadow Creek, and they found part of one of Gina’s bones at Epperly’s former hunting grounds. Bodmer says some of the locations were on their radar in 2016, but not all of them.

“When people come to understand what this instrument can do - it’s a world changer. That’s what I like to often share, just imagine we’re not just working cold cases, but we’re trying to find children that have gone missing - this is huge,” said Bodmer.

Not only did the instrument hit on Gina’s DNA, but it also hit on another - Angela Radar’s. Radar went missing from Roanoke in 1977, and back then they thought she was just a runaway teen and that’s where it stopped, until Dlana met with the Radar family.

“Do we have proof? No, but we have an instrument that we put in a sample of Angela from her family and we find her on a ridge near the same valley and we find her in a different location that we are currently investigating and we find her at the creek - that tells me we’ve got more victims and we’ve only checked Gina and Angela’s,” said Bodmer.

Bodmer said she won’t stop until she excavates all eight of the locations and maybe finally find all the pieces to this decades-long puzzle.

“Sometimes truth just sets your heart free, you just need the truth no matter how bad it is.”

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