Keep pushing for answers

Published 10:05 pm Thursday, August 15, 2019

The story of Brenda Hamilton’s death has touched many lives and peaked considerable interest, not only in Beaufort County, but nationwide. As of Sunday, the search for those answers will enter its seventh month.

In the time since the attack, investigators have worked tirelessly to find out what happened, utilizing DNA evidence and nearly every means available to piece together the events of that morning. Still, the investigation has yielded nothing definitive.

For that reason, the county government is taking its own steps to seek out those answers. A new committee, made up of county commissioners, law enforcement (current and retired), friends of the Hamilton family and Brenda’s husband Ray, met for the first time this week to push the investigation forward.

The items discussed in that meeting — consulting another DNA expert for a second look, constructing and documenting a full timeline of events in a centralized location and possibly going to Pantego to listen to locals — are all excellent suggestions for making progress.

To paraphrase County Commissioner Hood Richardson, there is no other agency the county can turn to in this type of investigation. From the beginning, the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have remained mostly hands off, with the majority of the investigative legwork falling to the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

So far, the county has allocated $3,500 to continue the work started by the BCSO and the forensics lab at Western Carolina. This will help pay for further forensic work and additional professional opinions on what might have caused the death. That price tag may go up before all is said and done.

The family and friends of Brenda Hamilton should have answers, and local residents have lost the peace of mind to let their children play outside. To the ones who care enough to sit on that committee, don’t give up your search for answers. If anything can be done to prevent another tragedy like this one, it’s well worth the time.