BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — It may be one of the most well-known murders in the Cape Fear in the last 30 years.
A 23-year-old mother of two was brutally killed in her home in the middle of the day with her son in the room.
As Roy and Laura Hobbs describe their niece, Beverly Jaye Potter Mintz, you can hear their admiration.
“I can still see her right now,” Laura Hobbs said. “She was real shy. She was real sweet. Pretty. She was beautiful.”
You can also hear their strong family bond.
“She was a good mother,” Laura said. “She loved her boys.”
You cannot miss their somber tone.
“She and my youngest daughter were real close,” Laura said. “Our daughter lived with her when all this happened,” Roy said.
Jaye’s mom, Lorene, and Laura are twin sisters from Brunswick County.
“You’ve heard of identical twins having the same feelings,” Roy said. “One of them would get a headache. The other one would take aspirin and they’d both feel better.”
On February 23, 1987, Laura shared one of the greatest pains in life with her sister. Laura said Lorene took Jaye’s four-year-old son with her to run some errands while the youngest stayed home with Jaye.
“They had gone to town to get Andrew a birthday cake,” Laura said. “He was going to be two-years-old the next day.”
Then, Laura said they went back to Jaye’s house.
“She knocked on the door, but she said instinct, you know, she just opened the door,” Laura said. “She said it was always locked, but that day, it was open. She went on in calling her name and calling the little boy. She heard him.”
She did not hear Jaye.
“So she headed back that way into the bedroom and he’s back in the room where everything happened,” Laura said.
Jaye’s toddler was in the middle of a horrific crime scene.
“What did he say, ‘Mean man hurt mommy?'”
“Yeah. Mean man hurt mommy. Of course, Lorene went all to pieces,” Laura said.
Civilian Investigative Specialist with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office Woody Clookie said Jaye had been killed.
“She was found brutally murdered, stabbed numerous times and her throat had been cut,” Clookie said.
As detectives began their investigation, Roy said everything else fell apart. For the next year, Laura said she could not talk about it with anyone, but her twin sister.
“Actually, I just listened,” Laura said.
For five years, she just listened.
“Actually, it was driving me crazy,” Laura said. “Every day, to work, home, all the time. That’s all she talked about.”
While investigators were still looking for answers, Laura said she finally stopped listening for a moment to give Lorene the one answer she needed to hear.
“I said, ‘Lorene, you’re going to have to forgive that person.’ She looked at me horrified. I said, ‘You’ve got to forgive.’ I said, ‘He’s not going to change.’ I said, ‘You have to forgive for yourself,'” Laura said.
A year later, Lorene had an answer for Laura.
“She said, ‘I forgave him and I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me.’ And when that day happened, she was like a different person,” Laura said.
Lorene would never get an answer from investigators. Twenty years after that horrible day, she passed away in 2007. After all the years, the chaos, the loss, it is still hard for Laura and Roy to tell their story, but they do with admiration, a strong family bond, and hope.
“Never lose hope,” Laura said. “I want them to find the person. You know, when you sit in this world, you have to pay the price, but you also have another price to pay.”
Because even after more than 30 years, they have never, for a moment, lost faith in the ones looking for the answers.
This case meant so much to one detective in particular at the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. Next monday, in part two of this #unsolved, WWAY’s Hannah Patrick sits down with the unsolved unit at the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office to talk about where the investigation into Jaye’s murder is now, what technology they are looking into and why Captain Phil Perry had such a big impact on this case.