Man arrested in rape, murder of 14-year-old girl nearly 40 years later

DOBSON, N.C. — The Surry County Sheriff’s Office in North Carolina has made an arrest in the 1980 rape and killing of a teenage girl, according to a news release.

Robert James Adkins, 62, of Dobson, is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree forcible rape.

The sheriff’s office said the charges stem from the death of Ronda Mechelle Blaylock. WGHP spoke with Ronda’s mom back in 2015. She has since passed away.

Ronda, 14, was a ninth-grade student at Atkins High School when her parents reported her missing on Aug. 29, 1980.

Jeffrey Shouse and Sherri Thigpen were around their cousin Ronda’s age when she disappeared.

“We would have sleepovers together and we would go to my grandparents' house together,” Thigpen said.

Ronda and a friend got into a blue pickup truck outside of a bowling alley in Rural Hall.

Three days later, her body was found in the woods off Sechrist Loop Road in Pilot Mountain.

“I just remember being outside and riding my bike and crying because I was sad that she was gone,” Thigpen said.

The medical examiner determined Ronda had been stabbed to death.

“I would have asked him ‘Why? Why did you do that to her?'” said Tammy Worrell, who was close friends with Ronda in middle school. “She was a sweet, loving and caring person and she did not deserve it."

Adkins was arrested on Friday and is being held in the Surry County Detention Center without bond.

“I hate that it took so long but I’m glad that they finally made an arrest,” Worrell said.

“Very relieved and thankful that finally it looks like they have somebody that is responsible,” Shouse said.

“I think that’s wonderful that they didn’t let it go,” Thigpen said. “I am hoping that the evidence is enough that they can put him behind bars for the rest of his life.”

“I just hope he never sees the light of day and dies in prison,” Shouse said.

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.