Martinsville Bulletin, Inc.
P. O. Box 3711
204 Broad Street
Martinsville, Virginia 24115
Toll Free: 800-234-6575
Dodson search continues
Sunday, October 20, 2013
By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer
Authorities in Henry and Franklin counties are continuing to search for a Bassett man last seen on Oct. 3, as they await the results of an autopsy and other forensic tests in the death of his acquaintance.
There have been some tips of possible sightings of Ricky Dodson, 51, but Henry County Sheriff’s Capt. Eric Winn said the search for him continues.
“The calls that we’ve received were from people who thought they spotted him or a vehicle he used to drive,” Winn said. The tips so far have led to a “similar-looking person or a similar-looking vehicle.”
Dodson was last seen by his mother on Oct. 3 when he stopped by her home to check on the condition of a family member who had health problems, Frances Dodson has said.
Authorities have said Dodson also was seen with Vicky Purdy, 53, also of Bassett.
Like Dodson, Purdy was last seen Oct. 3. Her remains were found three days later in a burned vehicle that had been parked on Philpott Road in Franklin County near the Henry County line.
Franklin County Sheriff’s Lt. Philip Young said Dodson is not a suspect in Purdy’s death.
Authorities do not know how Purdy died, nor do they have the results of analysis done on evidence collected at the scene, Young said.
The state lab “is still analyzing the vehicle to determine the cause of the fire,” and a medical examiner is still working to determine Purdy’s cause of death, Young said.
Remains found in the vehicle were basically skeletal, authorities have said.
Young said “it was a very hot vehicle fire,” but that does not mean that accelerants were used. “There are a ton of other factors that would make it burn that hot. A back seat full of clothes, the amount of fuel in the vehicle, just a lot of factors,” he said.
Authorities in both localities said they are concerned about Dodson, who is not considered a suspect.
Young said authorities do not know if Dodson is safe, but “that’s always a concern” when a person has been missing for this long, he said Friday. “We really don’t know right now, but we hope. ... We just want to see him return safe to his family.”
Young and Winn asked that anyone with any information at all about Dodson contact authorities.
“We would hope that somebody has seen him or talked to him, and that they will communicate that to us,” Young said. “The main focus right now is to get Mr. Dodson back safe.”
In Henry County, call the sheriff’s office at 638-8751, or Crime Stoppers at 63-CRIME (632-7463). Crime Stoppers offers rewards of up to $1,000 for information related to crimes. The amount of any reward is determined by the substance of information provided and the nature of the crime.
In Franklin County, call Lt. Todd Maxey at (540) 483-6601.