Son tried to file missing persons report in Salisbury, Charlotte prior to mother’s death

Published 4:55 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2022

SALISBURY — Sampson Kerns tried desperately to draw attention to his mother’s disappearance after he realized something was wrong.

Sampson’s mother, Libby, was last seen in July when she traveled to work in Charlotte and never came back. Because of his mom’s history, Sampson initially assumed she lost her phone and/or was living with someone outside of Salisbury. Police described her as homeless at the time of her death.

But Sampson and others grew concerned in October after months without contact. Questions that began to bubble up prompted Sampson and his family to try and file a missing persons report. He tried the Salisbury Police Department, but they told him to file a report in Charlotte. The Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department said Salisbury was the place to file a report, Sampson said.

Remains found in Huntersville Jan. 26 were confirmed to be Libby’s last week. Huntersville Police told the Post no missing person’s report was filed, but the truth, Sampson said, is he was turned away when trying to file a report.

“He went to both places, but neither one of them felt like it was their place to file the report,” said Patty Shuffler, Sampson’s great-aunt.

Capt. Brian Vaughan of the Huntersville Police Department said a person should file a missing person’s report based on the missing individual’s last known location.

Vaughan said the Huntersville Police Department is waiting on a final medical examiner’s report to determine a cause of death and can’t comment further about the investigation until receiving the report and notifying family members about the findings.

Two people have been charged in connection with Kerns’ murder — Cody “Red” Camarda Graham, 36, and Christopher John Nailer, 43. Both face first-degree murder, kidnapping and concealment of death charges.

For a large portion of Sampson’s life, Libby was a single mother, doing her best to support herself and her son, including cleaning and janitorial jobs. She enjoyed cooking and going to parks, Sampson said.

Shuffler added that her biggest hobby was taking care of her son.

“She was a devoted wife and mother and put her family before herself,” Sampson said, adding that she “got tangled up with a bad crowd” prior to her death.

Shuffler now sees herself as Sampson’s adopted mother. On Tuesday, she was thinking about ways to make Sampson’s birthday on Wednesday special.

“I’m going to try to make his birthday special for him. I feel like I’ve gotta do that,” Shuffler said. “(Libby) always made his birthday special and this is going to be his first birthday without her.”