#UNSOLVED: Hitch hikers find man stabbed to death in Leland in 1991


BRUNSWICK COUNTY, NC (WWAY) — A man died after being stabbed multiple times in Leland in 1991 leaving detectives with few answers 30 years later.

For now, the murder of Jerry Millard Lyle, 26, remains unsolved.

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In the summer of 1991, Lyle was living in a trailer in Brunswick County with some friends for work.

Civilian Investigative Specialist Jim Westbrook with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office said Lyle was actually from Knightdale, but was here for a construction project.

Westbrook said they do not know much about Lyle or what happened to him on August 2, 1991.

“Somewhere around midnight, he decided that he needed to take a ride into downtown Leland which was near the intersection of the current 74/76 and 133,” Westbrook said.

Westbook said Lyle borrowed some money from his roommate before he left.

“On the way, he picked up three hitch hikers,” Westbrook said.

Westbrook said the three young men were going to see some friends in downtown Leland.

“So he took them in and he dropped them off not too far from the intersection and told them if they needed a ride later, he would be coming back soon, that he was headed to the overpass area and would be able to come back over and give them a ride,” Westbrook said.

Westbrook said the hitch hikers couldn’t find their friends, so they started walking back.

“As they were walking back, they saw the same car turn into a convenience store,” Westbrook said.

Then, they saw Lyle get out of the car at the store on Village Road.

“As if he was headed toward the telephone booth and fell on the ground,” Westbrook said.

Westbrook said Lyle was bleeding heavily.

“So one of the boys took his shirt off and wrapped it around him to try to stop the bleeding and they said, ‘What happened to you?’ and he said, ‘They threw things at my window, my car window and stopped me and attacked me,'” Westbrook said.

Lyle told them he was robbed.

“He never mentioned names. He mentioned that there were several individuals. Reports varied a little bit as to exactly how many and whether they were uh white or Afro American,” Westbrook said.

The young men called 911.

“Once he got in the ambulance, he stopped talking and he died later that morning,” Westbrook said.

“What was the cause of death?”
“He was stabbed many, many times,” Westbrook said.

So where did Lyle go after he left the hitch hikers?

“He dropped them off and went on toward what he called the overpass and there we don’t know where he went from that point on,” Westbrook said.

Westbrook said there is one possibility.

“There is some indication that he may have been going to the Town and Country Motel. That was one of the things that was checked very thoroughly during the investigation at the time, because they saw some debris outside one of the rooms,” Westbrook said.

That could never be confirmed and the hotel is gone.

“We just don’t have that much information after all these years,” Westbrook said.

Westbrook said they hope now that all these years have passed, maybe someone will feel comfortable coming forward with some answers.

“For the family to know why it was necessary to stab somebody so many times,” Westbrook said.

We may never know why, but you could help them find who did it.

“You never want anybody out there who’s killed an individual to walk free. And that’s why we are here of course for the families, but also to get justice to the victim and see that the right one goes to jail,” Westbrook said.

if you have any information, please call the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.