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Big dig reveals no clues in murder mystery

READ MORE: Big dig reveals no clues in murder mystery
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A Carolina Beach cold case is now a closed case. S.B.I. investigators spent Tuesday digging for clues to crack a mystery that's more than a half a century old. A ground scan in November showed three potential spots where the bodies of Leila and Mary Rachel Bryan were buried. However, the promising information turned in to a devastating blow for their remaining family members. Lewis Smith, the victim’s nephew, was waiting for this day for a long time; the big dig. The hope was that it would help answer questions that have lingered for decades. It did, but just not the answers Smith had hoped for. Smith said, “I would have liked to have had some closure but as far as I'm concerned I tried and failed. It's over now.” It was at a house on Raleigh Avenue where his aunt, Leila, and her four-year-old daughter, Mary Rachel Bryan were last seen alive. The same night they disappeared, Bryan's husband, Edison was seen laying a concrete slab under the house. It was May 10th, 1941, and not until 2009 did the crime scene tape go up. There are many theories that surround their disappearance. The most common, is that they were murdered and buried under the home. It has been a long struggle for closure for the family. Lewis Smith has been in constant contact with the S.B.I. trying to solve a mystery that haunted his mother, Leila's sister. For five plus years, Lewis Smith worked with the S.B.I. to come up with the funds for a ground scan. In November, that scan revealed three spots where there might be people buried. Tuesday, holes were dug in those areas to see what lies beneath. Investigators took dirt excavated from the house and sifted through it looking for remains like bones and teeth. With equal parts disappointment and frustration, the dig revealed nothing, and the mystery of just what happened will apparently go unsolved. Both Smith and members of the S.B.I. say the investigation is over. Lewis Smith has done his own detective work for years and years and he said after Tuesday’s dig, he felt like, “He lost a ball game.”

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