Ask Us: Readers ask about Hoffner murder case, ‘Fame’ location

Published 10:03 am Monday, July 26, 2021

Editor’s note: Ask Us is a weekly feature published online Mondays and in print on Tuesdays. We’ll seek to answer your questions about items or trends in Rowan County. Have a question? Email it to askus@salisburypost.com.

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office is asking for the public’s help with information about the death of Judy Eller Hoffner, who lived on Wyatt Grove Church Road in the Gold Hill area.

Detectives say Hoffner likely was killed during a break-in on June 10 because of evidence they found at the scene. She was found dead in her home by a family member.

Readers have asked about updates on her case. Chief Deputy David Ramsey says the Sheriff’s Office is waiting on analysis of items sent to a lab in Richland County, South Carolina, and seeking any help the public may be able to provide. The Sheriff’s Office paid extra to send items to the South Carolina lab because the state of North Carolina’s lab is backed up.

“It’s a matter of a year versus weeks,” Ramsey said.

No one has been arrested in the case, but Ramsey said houses in the area where Hoffner lived have been targets of drug investigations conducted by the Sheriff’s Office.

Hoffner was the widow of the late Ernest Ray Hoffner, who died in February. In 2019, Hoffner told the Post she made weekly visits to see her husband at the N.C. State Veterans Home on the campus of the Salisbury VA.

Anyone with information about the case can contact the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at 704-216-8700, call Salisbury-Rowan Crime Stoppers at 1-866-639-5245 or visit tips.salisburyrowancrimestoppers.org.

Where was ‘Fame’ kept for previous year?

Between its removal from the median of West Innes Street in July 2020 and relocation to a cemetery on North Lee Street last week, the “Fame” Confederate monument was kept in a city property on Franklin Street, said Salisbury Communications Director Linda McElroy.

While McElroy didn’t specify the exact property, West Franklin Street in Salisbury is home to buildings used by the city’s Public Works Department. Sean Meyers, a Salisbury-based photographer, also captured an image in July 2020 of a tractor-trailer hauling the “Fame” monument turning into one of the Public Works properties on West Franklin Street.

The relocation occurred Friday, when crews lowered the base of the monument and the top — a winged figure holding a dying Confederate soldier — into an enclosure surrounded by an 8-foot-tall fence. Privately raised funds paid for cameras and lights at the site.

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