Boy’s death in Orange County cold case is a step closer to being solved

Orange County News

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A cold case that haunted investigators in Orange County for decades is one step closer to being closed.

“I’ve waited 20 plus years for this moment,” said Maj. Tim Horne (RET).

Since the day that 10-year-old Bobby Whitt’s body was discovered below a billboard, retired Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy Tim Horne has been looking forward to the moment that his killer faced a judge.

“Hopefully justice will be served for Bobby and his mother,” said Horne.

Years of police work lead Horne to 57-year-old John Russell Whitt.

Whitt is charged with murdering his son in Cabarrus County in 1998 and dumping his remains under a billboard just outside of Mebane.

“We’ve had this report since 1998 when it first occured, and it’s nice to conclude it here in Orange County as well,” said Horne.

Orange County prosecutors are considering more charges related to the murder of Whitt’s wife, Myong Wha Cho, after her body was discovered in South Carolina.

Horne says he simply wants closure for a family who has been through a lifetime of pain.

“As long as part of this is still out there they have to relive it in their mind and they have to think about it,” said Horne. “Once the court proceedings are over we hope that will be concluded for them.”

CBS17 asked Horne what closure would look like to him after decades of chasing a case that lead him to a man that’s already in federal prison until at least 2037.

“I’m going to leave that up to the courts decision, but he’s serving a length sentence currently so even if he gets the minimum sentence he’ll never get out of prison,” said Horne. “He will die in prison.”

As the case heads towards trial in Orange County, Whitt will wait to hear his fate at the Butner Correctional Facility without bond.

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