Curtis Edward Blair has been identified as the lead suspect in the 1984 rape and murder of 15-year-old Reesa Dawn Trexler in Salisbury, North Carolina. The case has been cleared by exception due to the death of Blair.
Trexler was raped and stabbed to death in her grandfather’s home while he had gone out to the grocery store, and he found her body when he returned home a short time later. One of the stab wounds was so severe, it severed her spinal cord.
Police have neither confirmed nor denied the identification. They state that the body of the suspect was exhumed in order to make the confirmation. It is known that Blair worked very close to the Trexler residence at the time of the murder.
There have been many suspects over the years. Jodie Trexler Laird, Reesa’s sister, was long accused of involvement in the crime. Laird was instrumental in finding her sister’s killer, and in clearing herself and her family from suspicion. Investigators have stated that she is now completely exonerated.
This case shows the damage that can be done over time when a case is not cleared – even when there is no evidence against those who are wrongfully suspected, and they are never formally charged. When police refuse to name the suspect, the case is not really cleared in the eyes of the public. This is significant for those who might also have been victimized by the real perpetrator, as well as those who may continue to be wrongfully suspected of the crime. Since criminal investigations are performed in the name of the public, and using the resources of the public, the community should also receive the benefits of having the case cleared and the suspect publicly named.
Blair passed away on October 6, 2004.
Potts, Shavonne. “Salisbury Police Solve 35-Year-Old Murder of Reesa Dawn Trexler.” Salisbury Post, December 3, 2019. Accessed December 11, 2020. https://www.salisburypost.com/2019/12/03/salisbury-police-solve-35-year-old-murder-of-reesa-dawn-trexler/.
Sederstrom, Jill. “DNA Clears Woman of Sister’s Brutal 1984 Murder after Spending Years Living Under a Cloud of Suspicion.” Oxygen, December 4, 2019. Accessed December 11, 2020. https://www.oxygen.com/crime-news/dna-clears-jodi-laird-of-sister-reesa-trexlers-brutal-1984-murder.
Whisenant, David. “Police: Man Who Murdered Salisbury Teen in 1984 Has Been Identified.” WBTV News, December 3, 2019. Accessed December 11, 2020. https://www.wbtv.com/2019/12/03/police-man-who-murdered-salisbury-teen-has-been-identified/.