By Isabella Dominesey | Idominesey@radford.edu
Gina Hall, a name known by many in the New River Valley community, was recently featured on an award-winning podcast 40 years after her disappearance.
On Dec. 21, 2020, “Crime Junkie,” a nationally streamed podcast with over 500 million downloads and recent recipient of The People’s Choice Podcast Award’s Best Storyteller in a Drama, released its final episode of the year titled “MURDERED: Gina Hall.” The episode, hosted by Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat of Indiana, highlighted the former Radford University freshman’s life and tragic death.
[epq-quote align=”align-left”]Gina Renee Hall, originally from Coeburn, Virginia, had recently finished her summer courses at Radford University when she decided it was time to enjoy her summer break with a night out.[/epq-quote]
Gina Renee Hall, originally from Coeburn, Virginia, had recently finished her summer courses at Radford University when she decided it was time to enjoy her summer break with a night out. On June 28, 1980, Gina put on her makeup, a favorite ankle bracelet, and left her apartment for a night of dancing at Blacksburg Marriot.
According to the podcast, all events occurring after Hall left her Radford apartment are based solely on eye-witness testimony.
Flowers and Prawat state that there were multiple stories of Hall’s whereabouts throughout the evening. Each one was placing Hall with Stephen Epperly, a former Virginia Tech student. At around 1 a.m., Hall called her sister, Dlana Hall, informing her that she was at a cabin near Claytor Lake with a man named “Steve.”
This phone call was the last time Hall spoke with someone.
The episode then dives into the investigation conducted by Virginia State Police. The hosts discuss the evidence found of the crime; bloody-tattered clothing, pieces of hair, bloodstains on the carpet of the cabin, and Hall’s abandoned car found by police under a trestle bridge.
Throughout the investigation into Hall’s disappearance and suspected murder, Virginia State Police interviewed numerous witnesses and gathered enough evidence to take Epperly to trial, despite not having a body.
Everett Shockley, a young attorney at the time, took on what would become a precedent-setting case. After a trial built entirely on circumstantial evidence, Shockley became the first attorney in Virginia’s history to gain a murder conviction despite not having a body.
Stephen Epperly remains in prison to this day.
“MURDERED: Gina Hall” also discusses the different friends, detectives, and volunteers that searched for answers about Hall. The episode, about 50 minutes long, is still available for streaming on most podcast apps, as well as the Crime Junkie website.
Since 2016, Hall’s remains have been found in eight different locations across the New River Valley, the most recent of which was found in June 2020. The search for her remains is claimed to be the most comprehensive body search in Virginia history.
[epq-quote align=”align-right”]If she were alive today, she would be turning 60-years-old in August.[/epq-quote]
Two books have been published regarding the life, disappearance, and murder of Hall. “The Miraculous Journey: A Day Made in Heaven,” written by Hall’s sister, details the search she went on to find peace and healing after her sisters’ death, and “Under The Trestle,” by Ron Peterson, focuses on the importance of Virginia’s first “no body” trial.
Gina Hall came to Radford University in pursuit of becoming a nurse. If she were alive today, she would be turning 60-years-old in August.