Disney could not have fashioned a more evil villainess than Sylvia White. And tonight, host of Scene of the Crime, Tony Harris, heads to Kinston, North Carolina tonight to find out who killed her husband Billy White.
And a can of grisly worms is opened.
The death of this well-liked insurance salesman opened up a huge investigation in this “gateway to the south” township where Harris embedded himself to peel back the layers of a murder so odd, it ticked off alarms with the seasoned law enforcement who came to view Billy’s second wife and stepmother to his four children as the prime suspect.
And one of those four kids of Billy’s died a mysterious death back in 1973, ruled an accident.
Both divorcees, Sylvia White and Billy White married in the early 1970s. She had three children and he had four.
Most everybody in that small town knew who he was. A striver, Billy worked his way up in the insurance business in the early 1960s and became a real success in his field, winning salesman of the year awards. On the surface, they appeared happy.
An investigative journalist to the core, Tony begins his examination of the White’s murder and checks in with retired Chief Speedy Ingram to review the case files.
Ingram recalled that White’s wife Sylvia White said Billy had gone to sell an insurance policy, but he had not returned. She was frantic to open a missing person report.
White was described as an outgoing community leader, and a person who helped found the Exchange Club and served on community boards according to several news reports that covered the murder.
But the night he died, Sylvia White told police that Billy had left to meet a client named Tim Connor. Not the case as Ingram soon found White dead inside of a van in a remote location.
The entire Kinston community rallied to support Sylvia in her grief and time of need. But her immediate family sensed otherwise.
The case got more convoluted and the State Bureau of Investigation was dragged into the investigation, tipped by an informant who shared a different story.
The informant claimed a carpenter named James Lynwood Taylor showed him Billy White`s photograph six months earlier and said he was offered $20,000 and a van to kill him.
All roads lead back to the sloppy prime suspect, Sylvia.
But investigators really started examining her whole history and the odd deaths that seemed to follow her wherever she went.
It gets worse.
The authorities reexamined the death of young Billy White, Sylvia’s 4-year-old stepson who died mysteriously in 1973. They dug up the skeleton of the little boy who “accidentally” choked to death on a plastic bag.
All of these crazy deaths seemed out of the norm. The police then looked into the 1967 death of Sylvia’s first husband, Leslie Ipock, found in bed with a bullet in his head. He was 32 when he met his maker with a shot to his temple. A pistol was found by his side. His death was deemed a suicide.
Despite the fact Sylvia seemed a good person, volunteering with the disabled and being “sweet-spoken,” her proximity to these dead people so close to her lead to a trail of clues that authorities painstakingly pieced together. And they stitched a quilt of malfeasance and mayhem.
Then, another suspect, carpenter James Lynwood Taylor was eventually caught and he confessed, alleging Sylvia White approached him in the summer of 1991 to kill her husband.
Her motive? Sex and money. She was having an affair and wanted her husband`s life insurance payout, reported to be around $200,000.
Eventually, once all the evidence groundwork was completed, investigators charged Sylvia White and Taylor with first-degree murder.
And after the charges for her deceased husband were leveled, a grand jury indicted Sylvia White in Little Bill`s death back in 1973.
But getting all of these old files is no easy task. Tune in tonight as Harris untangles the web of lies, deceit, and coverups.
Scene of the Crime with Tony Harris airs Sunday, June 17 at 10/9c on ID.