Vigil to be held for murdered Halifax County woman, Emma Compton Layne

Published: Mar. 6, 2020 at 6:21 AM EST
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A vigil will be held Friday night for a murdered woman out of Halifax County whose death remains a mystery, and whose murderer has never been caught.

, a missing persons report was filed for Emma Compton Layne. Three days before the report, she was seen locking up her local business, The Cody Store, June 20, 2017.

Now, it's been almost three years since Layne was last reported seen alive, but the circumstances surrounding her disappearance and death still haunt her family and friends.

"I made her a promise, June 2017, 'Baby girl, you will get justice.' And I have no intentions of breaking that promise," Layne's sister, Shawna Compton said at


It was a sentiment repeated when


"I promised Emma that first week when I knew she never walked away, I promised her that I would give her justice," Compton said.

Over the years, Compton has kept justice for Emma her life mission. She's held rallies and vigils, put up billboards and continued to look for answers about her sister's death.

"So her murderer can run, but they can't hide forever," she said.

It's not just Layne's murder that Compton struggles to wrap her mind around.

"It was one thing to murder her, but then to take her and put her in the woods where she was put... no. Uh-uh," Compton said.

, hunters found Layne's body buried in a shallow grave among trees about 700 feet off Sandy Ridge Road in Nathalie, just a few miles from her home. It wasn't until 2019 that a Medical Examiner in Richmond ruled Layne's cause of death as homicidal violence including traumatic neck injury.

However, it's not her death families want Layne to be remembered for: it's her life and her spirit.

"Anybody that knows her is going to remember her as a bundle of energy," Compton said last June. "And her favorite bird was a hummingbird."

Friday, March 6, would have been Layne's 55th birthday. Friends and family are hosting a birthday party and vigil at Childrey Baptist Church in Nathalie at 6 p.m to celebrate her life and bring awareness to her unsolved murder.

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