Are you sure that the documents cannot be served by publication? Even the NC Magistrates Association states in their small claims court guide (http://www.aoc.state.nc.us/magistrate/small_claims.htm):
"By Other Means. If you cannot get the complaint and summons to the defendant using these instructions, there are other ways to try to serve the defendant. For instance, you can start over with a new summons form, which you can get from the clerk. Or you can use what's called "service by publication," which is giving notice to a defendant through a newspaper. You may need a lawyer to help you do this."
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