The Ore Knob Mine Murders

The Crimes, the Investigation and the Trials


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About the Book

How could the peace and quiet of Ashe County, North Carolina (in the mountains, at the Virginia-Tennessee corner), turn into a nightmare of crime and drugs, and the old copper mine itself become a dumping ground for the dead? In 1982, two bodies had been chipped from an icy grave and brought up from the 250-foot mine shaft where they had been thrown while still alive. Now, there were rumors of 21 bodies still down there. If the mine was ever re-opened, what would they find—copper or bodies? Murder, drugs, prostitution and gangs come together in the history of the Ore Knob Mine. A small Appalachian community became the heart of a vicious drug ring ruled by the Outlaws motorcycle gang from Chicago. Ashe County made national headlines when a police informant came forward confessing that he had pushed a man alive into the Ore Knob Mine shaft. This book is the full story.

About the Author(s)

Rose M. Haynes has written for the Wilkes Journal-Patriot, Jefferson Times, Winston-Salem Journal and State Magazine. She lives in Hays, North Carolina.

Bibliographic Details

by Rose M. Haynes

Foreword by Barbara Moore Pless

Format: softcover (6×9)
Pages: 248
Bibliographic Info: 28 photos, 1 map, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7316-8
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0443-5
Imprint: McFarland
Series: Contributions to Southern Appalachian Studies

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Foreword by Barbara Moore Pless 1
Preface 3
Introduction 5
List of Persons 9
Timeline 13
1. Christmas Eve 15
2. Working Undercover 21
3. Murder at the Mine 29
4. Acceptance 33
5. The Tale of Murder at the Mine 37
6. Investigation at the Mine 46
7. Callahan in Chicago 56
8. Forester’s Murder 65
9. The Murder Trial Begins 73
10. Sharon Gamboa’s Testimony 87
11. Vines’ Testimony 93
12. Vines’ Testimony Continues 106
13. Fugitives Captured 135
14. The Chicago Trial 138
15. Vines’ Trial 145
16. Ore Knob Mine History 154
Appendix A: Official Sworn Statements 163
Appendix B: Forester and Gamboa Autopsies 212
Chapter Notes 223
References 229
Index 233

Book Reviews & Awards

  • “Haynes maps out an intricate, toxic regional topography…interesting…documentation of life in the southern mountains”—The Journal of Southern History
  • “Compelling”—Appalachian Heritage
  • “Haynes brings a unique perspective to the narrative as a local resident familiar with this history and culture of the area”—ProtoView

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