Russell Wood

On February 7, 2023, the Lexington Police Department announced that Russell Grant Wood was the lead suspect in the May 30, 1987 rape and murder of Mary Mathis Davis in Lexington, North Carolina. The case has been cleared by exception due to the death of Wood.

Davis’ remains were found behind a Winn-Dixie on May 31, 1987 – the day after she disappeared. She was last seen at her job at Lanier’s Ace Hardware Store. She left for a break, and never returned. The autopsy found that she had been sexually assaulted and that she died by strangulation.

The FGG investigation was conducted by Othram in partnership with the Lexington Police Department and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, beginning in 2022.
Wood, who was from Lexington, died in 2013 at the age of 58. It was reported that Wood and Davis may have known each other, but further information about the nature of their relationship has not been made available.


DeBone, Maria, Carrie Hodgin, and Veronica Leasure. “Suspect Identified in 1987 Cold Case Murder of Lexington Woman.” WX11 NBC News 2, February 7, 2023. Accessed February 8, 2023.

Myers, Sharon. “Lexington Police Solve 36 Year Old Murder Case Through DNA Evidence.” The Dispatch, February 7, 2023. Accessed February 8, 2023.

Vogen, Michael. “NC State Bureau of Investigation and Lexington PD Team with Othram to Identify the 1987 Rapist and Murderer of Mary Mathis Davis.”, February 7, 2023. Accessed February 8, 2023.


First Name Russell
Last Name Wood
Other Names
Victims 1 (Details)
IGG Started 2022-00-00
Case Cleared 2022-02-07
IGG Org Othram


Case ID Name Age Case Opened Location Investigating Org Most Serious Charge Disposition Court
1838 Mary Davis 29 1987-05-30 Lexington, NC Lexington PD; NC SBI First degree murder Case was cleared by exception due to death of perpetrator n/a

Last updated: February 9, 2024

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Case data and narrative licensed under CC BY 4.0: Dowdeswell, Tracey (2023), “Forensic Genetic Genealogy Project v. 2022”, Mendeley Data, V1, doi: 10.17632/jcycgvhm96.1. All other content, including photos, have been added.