‘Justice for Rhonda’: NC sheriff renews plea for help in woman’s 1981 murder on I-40.

A North Carolina sheriff this week renewed his plea for help solving the 1981 fatal shooting of 19-year-old Rhonda Hinson, killed in a car on Interstate 40 as she returned home from a Christmas party.

A combined reward for information leading to an arrest and conviction in Hinson’s death has increased to $94,700, Sheriff Banks Hinceman said on Facebook Wednesday.

“I believe that there is someone out there with credible information that could help bring the person(s) responsible for this murder to justice,” Hinceman said.

“I know it’s been 42 years,” Hinceman said. “If you are worried about what people will think about you, it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

Hinson was shot while traveling toward Valdese, N.C., on I-40 West to the Mineral Springs Mountain Road exit, Hinceman said.

Judy Hinson, Rhonda’s mom, told Charlotte Observer news partner WSOC that she and her husband still think about their daughter every day.

“If we don’t talk about it during the day, we dream about her at night,” Hinson said. “The most caring loving child that you’ve ever met.”

The case has drawn national attention over the years. It was featured in an episode of “Unsolved Mysteries” on Netflix and a December 2022 report by NBC News Dateline.

“She was funny, happy,” Judy Hinson told Dateline. “She loved everybody. She never met a stranger.”

Sheriff’s investigators and State Bureau of Investigation agents have spent thousands of hours over the decades investigating Hinson’s death, Hinceman said.

“My prayer is that the Lord will weigh heavily on someone’s heart to come forward with credible information that will bring justice for Rhonda and her family,” he said.

The sheriff’s office has a tip line dedicated solely to Hinson’s case: 828-764-9549.