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Watauga County Historical Society Speaker Series: “Convoluted: The 1972 Durham Family Triple Homicide,” with Terry Harmon

Headshot of Terry Harmon. Courtesy of Terry Harmon.

The Watauga County Historical Society (WCHS) is pleased to announce that Terry Harmon will be presenting on his forthcoming book, Convoluted: The 1972 Durham Family Triple Homicide, as part of its quarterly speaker series. This presentation, which is free and open to the public, will take place at the annual meeting of the WCHS on Wednesday, September 6, at 5:30pm at the Watauga County Public Library’s Community Room. It will also be available on Facebook Live at the Digital Watauga Facebook page. Light refreshments will be served for those attending in person. The presentation will occur following a brief business meeting of the WCHS. 

In the midst of a nighttime snowstorm on February 3, 1972, intruders broke into a residence on present-day Clyde Townsend Road, just off the 105 Bypass, and murdered Bryce Durham (51), his wife Virginia (44), and their son Bobby (18), who were found strangled and submerged in a bathtub. For years, the case stumped local authorities, with numerous theories and suspects put forward during the decades-long investigation. 

The Bryce Durham residence as it appeared in February 1972. Image courtesy of the George Flowers Collection, Digital Watauga Project.

Nearly 50 years to the day later, in February 2022, the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office announced that the case had been solved. Implicated in the announcement were four members of the Dixie Mafia, a loose-knit gang of criminals operating throughout the southeastern US. Terry’s forthcoming book explores the story behind the crime, the investigation, and the closing of the case last year.

Terry Harmon is a Boone native, a graduate of Appalachian State University, and a long-time employee of Samaritan’s Purse. An avid genealogist and amateur historian, he has self-published three family histories with a fourth one in the works, and he is the author of Watauga County Revisited, part of Arcadia Publishing’s “Images of America” series. Terry has also been compiling a history of crime in Watauga County, an offshoot of which is his upcoming book, Convoluted: The 1972 Durham Family Triple Homicide

Courtesy of Watauga County Historical Society.