GILES, Va. —
It was a hot and muggy Sunday night on May 28, 1978, when Jeff Scott picked up his girlfriend, Karen Noble, at her home in Bluefield around 8:45 p.m. The couple, who had been dating exclusively for four years, didn't disclose plans of their outing to friends or family. But, ultimately, they ended up on the other side of East River Mountain on a sandy beach flanking the cool waters of Wolf Creek near the border of Bland and Giles counties, Va.
Karen, 20, had just returned home from a nine-day trip to Kansas where she visited her sister. Jeff, 21, of Bramwell, had spent the afternoon playing basketball with friends. The couple, described by friends as nice, happy, community-minded and Christian, never returned home from their pre-Memorial Day date.
Timmy Vaughn, 20, was driving his girlfriend home when he spotted a fire along Route 61 in Giles County, less than a mile from the Bland County line. Initially, he thought a trash bin had been set ablaze. Drawing closer, he made a horrific discovery.
“As I got up there I saw it was a truck,” Vaughn said last week, recalling the events from 33 years ago. “I stopped and got out and walked down to the truck. I saw a person in the back. I felt (for) the pulse … It was obvious they were deceased.”
Vaughn had found Scott's body about 11:50 p.m. Vaughn said he experienced a “very, very weird sensation” that caused him to look to the right toward Wolf Creek.
“I turned and looked in that direction and cold chills came over me,” he said. In his line of sight, obscured by darkness and brush, was the place where Karen Noble would soon be found shot and drowned. Vaughn didn't venture there, but instead went and called for help.