About 10 months after her teenage nephew Jeremiah Pittman vanished in North Carolina, 25-year-old Zilphia Lowery also disappeared — and then, like Pittman, she turned up dead.
Were the slayings connected?
Authorities looked into that question while investigating both homicides, UPI reports. The cases will be spotlighted in a Thursday night episode of A&E’s Cold Case Files.
As one investigator explains in an exclusive clip, “We had two people in the same family, in the same year, go missing. … These cases either have to be related or it is a real coincidence.”
While law enforcement reportedly probed the possibility that Lowery and Pittman, 18, were killed by the same relative, it took 15 years after Lowery went missing in 1993 for the truth about her death to be confirmed.
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According to the Asheville Citizen-Times, a break in the case came, in part, from a bit of paper with two names on it. Lowery’s killer, who she was not related to, was finally convicted of first-degree murder in 2008, the paper reports.
Pittman’s killer — his father — was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter and had been an early focus of Lowery’s homicide investigation, according to the Citizen-Times and UPI.
“The tragic murder of Zilpha Lowery is particularly haunting,” says Ari Mark, president of Cold Case Files’ production company, AMPLE.
“Set in the woods of Appalachia amidst a double homicide, the episode sets science against faith until a hidden forensic clue shocks even investigators,” Mark says.
Cold Case Files airs Thursday (10 p.m. ET) on A&E.