In December 1995, metal detectorists were exploring the area near the Roanoke River in the Garysburg (Northampton County) North Carolina area. They came upon what they thought was a large smooth stone. After picking it up, they discovered that it was a human skull. They called the Northampton County Sheriff's Office. Officers responded and upon a closer examination of the area found an intact skeleton. The skeleton was covered with a thin layer of soil and leaves. It was clothed in a pair of brown pants and a dark coat. The North Carolina SBI was notified who sent agents to the location and assisted the Sheriff's Office with exhuming the remains.
The remains were transported to the North Carolina State Medical Examiner's Office in Raleigh where an examination was performed. The medical examiner determined that the deceased was an approximately 60 - 70-year-old, African American male, 5 foot 9 and would have weighed approximately 150 - 170 pounds. It was determined that the person had been deceased two to three years. All possible missing persons in the area were ruled out. In 2013, a DNA extraction was performed and the information was loaded into the NamUS database as UP2794. No matching results were found. In December of 2018, Lieutenant Investigator Alan Roye of the Northampton County Sheriff's Office took over the case.
In September 2019, portions of the skeletal remains were sent to Othram for further advanced DNA testing, which was funded by the Northampton County Sheriff’s Office. Othram used Forensic-Grade Genome Sequencing® to build a comprehensive DNA profile from the skeletal remains. With a profile in place, Othram conducted genealogical research funded by the National Center for Missing and Endangered, Inc., Jackson, North Carolina. Othram returned investigative leads to Detective Roye and he made contact with a close family member who told him that he had submitted his DNA because he was doing research to find out more about his family. He stated that the deceased is possibly his grandfather Edward Evans, who was estranged from the family and had not been seen in over thirty years and was never reported missing. He was last seen by grandson Victor Harper in 1982 at their home in Salisbury, Maryland.
A DNA swab was obtained a close family relative and the DNA sample was submitted for comparison. The North Carolina State Bureau of investigation compiled a family tree based on this information. The testing confirmed that the unknown man found in 1995 was, in fact, Edward Evans, the father of Gladys Evans Harper and grandfather of Orlando Harper. According to World War II draft records found; Edward Evans was born on March 16, 1906 in Northampton County North Carolina and was then living in Franklin (Southampton County) Virginia. Investigator Roye is still trying to locate other information about Edward Evans such as family in Northampton County.