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Missing Linville Woman Found Dead in Ashe County

By Jesse Wood

Dec. 10, 2014. Dorothy Barber, 60, who was last seen leaving her home in Linville on Dec. 6, was found dead “not too far away” from her vehicle in Ashe County on Tuesday night, authorities announced early Wednesday.

“It is with great sadness that we believe we found Dorothy “Dot” Barber,” Avery County Sheriff Kevin Frye said. “The vehicle she was driving was located in Ashe County and her body not too far away.”


Ashe County Sheriff James Williams contacted the Avery County Sheriff’s Office on Tuesday night. While detectives with the Ashe County Sheriff’s Office continue to investigate her death, officials said there is no indication of foul play.

Williams’ office has been contact with the family since last night “to make this as easy for family and friends and provide closure in as quick a manner as possible.”

She was reported last seen at 287 Ruffin St. in Linville on the morning of Dec. 6. She was on her way to visit family in King, N.C., which is about a two-hour drive from Linville. She didn’t arrive in King by her expected time of arrival at 2 p.m. that day, and she wasn’t answering her cell phone.

According to a N.C. Silver Alert, Barber was “believed to be suffering from dementia or some other cognitive impairment.”

Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman said that coordinated flyovers between units in Avery and Watauga County were conducted on Tuesday morning with no success of finding Barber or her 1998 four-door Toyota Camry.

With a N.C. Highway Patrol helicopter above and sheriff units on the ground, authorities worked from the Wilkes-Watauga County line to Blue Ridge Parkway bridge over U.S. 421 in Deep Gap. Then the units followed the parkway into Avery County and beyond.

Hagaman mentioned that since the time of the missing person’s report, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office, Blowing Rock Police Department and National Park Service rangers with the Blue Ridge Parkway continuously patrolled roads from the Avery-Watauga County line to the Watauga-Wilkes County line.

Hagaman noted that it known to be not unusual for Barber to take the back roads and avoid coming through Boone.

Before her body was found in Ashe County, Hagaman asked the public to “vigilant” in assisting authorities.

“Understand that this is a vast area,” Hagaman said, “and we are asking that the public please be vigilant in assisting with anything they may have to offer by way of reporting anything that they may suspect or see along these routes.”