Russell Grant Wood, Suspect Identified in 1987 Murder Case of Mary Mathis Davis

Mary Mathis Davis Death – Obituary: After her murder 36 years ago, the family of Mary Mathis Davis of Lexington is now receiving closure and answers.

On May 30, 1987, Davis was last observed at a Lexington Lanier’s Ace Hardware location. After a brief period of work, she left without coming back from her lunch break. The heartbreaking news that Davis had been found dead, strangled, was delivered to her family by authorities the next day.

Mary’s body was discovered in Lexington behind the local Winn Dixie.

When the murder occurred, investigators gathered information that was not yet useful in this case.

In the 36-year-old murder investigation, Lexington police revealed on Tuesday that technological advancements in DNA allowed them to identify the perpetrator.

The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation received the DNA evidence in this case in 2022.

The murderer of Davis was positively identified as Russell Grant Wood.

2013 saw Wood’s passing. In a formal letter, the district attorney stated that if Wood had been alive, he would have faced charges for first-degree murder, first-degree kidnapping, and first-degree rape.

Robby Rummage, the chief of police in Lexington, stated that Wood and Mary knew each other and that it was not known how they were related.

Rummage stated, “that would be nothing but conjecture,” when asked if they knew the motivation.

On February 3, Davis’ family received word of this brand-new information.

The news conference was attended by her relatives.

“We prayed that one day we would find the person who violent murdered our beloved Mary,” Lori Martin, Davis’ niece. “We now have some answers. Although that won’t bring Mary back, it does give us a sense of closure.”

Traci Cleary, Davis’ daughter, wrote this poem which was read at the news conference:

To my dear angel in heaven, I just want you to know

How much you’re in my thoughts and how much I love you so

Though you are in God’s care and that’s how it should be

But when I get to heaven, he will give you back to me

Mary would’ve turned 65 this upcoming Sunday. The family is having a celebration of life and memorial for her then.