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Death of Emma Layne confirmed; police seek leads in Cody homicide case / January 15, 2018

Human remains found in November in the Nathalie area have been positively identified as those of Emma Compton Layne of Cody, who has been missing since June 20, 2017.

Halifax County Sheriff Fred Clark confirmed the death of the 52-year-old woman Thursday night after receiving a report from the Office of the Medical Examiner earlier in the day.

Mrs. Layne was last seen June 17 at Cody Store, the convenience store she owned and operated at Stage Coach Road in Cody. On Nov. 22, hunters found human remains in a heavily-wooded area near Sandy Ridge Road, less than a mile from property that Mrs. Layne owned with her husband, Russell Layne.

According to the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office, it appeared that someone attempted to bury the body in a shallow grave in the woods.

Sheriff Fred Clark in a statement Thursday night appealed for fresh leads in the homicide, even as investigators await further clues from the state medical examiner’s office on how the death may have taken place.

“We are still awaiting additional information from the medical examiner’s office concerning the circumstances and cause of death,” said Sheriff Clark. “But, we are treating this as a homicide investigation and are continuing to pursue all possible leads related to Mrs. Layne’s death. This investigation is top priority.”

In an interview with NBC’s Dateline program, Mrs. Layne’s sister, Shawna Compton Krohn, said of learning the news, “I feel nothing but pain. When something like this happens, I don’t [know] if there is closure …. I feel like I’m in a black hole with no beginning and no end.”

The positive identification of the victim did not come as a surprise to friends and family of Mrs. Layne, who have created a Facebook page, Justice for Emma Compton Layne, #Justice for Emma.

“Even though I was certain it had to be her, hearing it confirmed is something quite different. We were given no other information other than this is an open and ongoing murder investigation. Please continue to keep our family and friends in your prayers,” read a post Friday by the victim’s sister, Wynona Compton Childress of Hurt.

Members of the family and the Sheriff’s Office ask that anyone with information about Emma Layne, or who may recall seeking suspicious vehicles or persons along Sandy Ridge Road any time between June and November 2017, to please call the Sheriff’s Office at 911 or 434-476-3339.

“I also want to thank the community for your support and efforts to help find Emma, and especially her family for their patience and persistence during this very difficult and trying process,” said Sheriff Clark. “Though we know this is the news they feared the most, may it at least bring them some closure and reassure them of my department’s commitment to seeing this investigation through to the end.”

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