Asheville police ask for public's help on a nearly 40-year-old case

Asheville investigators are breathing new life into a 37-year-old cold case -- the disappearance of James Edward Laws. (Photo credit: Laws family)

Asheville investigators are breathing new life into a 37-year-old cold case -- the disappearance of James Edward Laws, who family members say went by Eddie.

They’re searching for any clues to help determine his whereabouts.

“It's been a long time, and it don't go away,” Laws' sister Cathey Huffman said. “It doesn't go away. You still hurt. You still miss him. Nothing changes for you.”

She said she has a tight-knit family and it wouldn’t have made sense for her brother to just leave all of that behind.

“I hope he's alive. I hope he's somewhere and he's OK. And I hope if he sees me, he knows I want him to come home. I need him,” said Huffman.

She said Laws lived in what is now Pine Valley Mobile Home Park on Sweeten Creek Road. And the last anyone heard from him was when he made his way to the nearby Hot Spot to use a payphone to call his mom.

Huffman said her brother spoke to his mom in what was a normal call. He went missing the next day.

Laws' car was found several weeks later near what is now the Veteran’s Restoration Quarters.

“It was very clean, except for the trunk. And we found the belt to his one of his sweaters. And it being November, it was cold, so we wondered why he didn't have it on. And it looked like someone had vomited in the trunk of the car and possibly have pressed up on the hood,” said Huffman.

Time ticked by with all leads exhausted.

"What can you do? We've prayed all this time, and, for some reason, we still haven't found out what's wrong," Huffman said.

She hopes someone will remember what happened that day and provide information about what happened to her brother, especially now that their mother is getting older and suffering from dementia.

“I would like, before something happens to my mother, and she's almost 80, I would like for her to have some kind of closure about her son, because, although she doesn't remember him all the time, sometimes she still does,” said Huffman.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Asheville Police Department at 828-252-1110.

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off