Unsolved by Jennifer Abney
True crime podcasts and YouTube videos have become extremely popular in the last few years. And in some cases, they have even helped solve crimes. Now, one local family needs your help. They’ve waited over four decades for answers and they still don’t know what happened to their loved one. They’re hoping someone will help change that.
Like many families, the Farleys have plenty of photo albums and scrapbooks.
“This is the river where they liked to camp a lot,” said Goldie Farley, the victim’s mother.
But the past these files and books preserve is often painful for this family to remember.
“The little ones (small newspaper articles), Dad paid for himself just to keep the word out there,” said Krista Farley Raines, the victim’s sister.
“He was a great kid,” Farley said. “He was just a nice, quiet, handsome young man.”
“I was four so I don’t remember a lot,” Raines said. “But he was bigger than life.”
Jay Farley, Krista’s big brother, was actually 6-feet-4-inches tall. But his big heart is what he was most known for in his hometown of Dunbar, West Virginia.
“He was a grandma’s boy,” Farley said while showing a Valentine’s Day card.
On a Saturday evening in July 1979, the Farley family changed forever.
Sean McCracken is the host and producer of “Mysterious WV,” a YouTube channel featuring cold cases from the Mountain State.
In December of 2018, he featured the Farley case.
“We know Jay Farley was murdered,” McCracken said. “We know Mazie May is missing. What we don’t know is how they got that way.”
Many of the facts are known: 18-year-old Jay Farley and 25-year-old Mazie Mae Sigmon-Palmer had only dated for a few months and had planned to see each other that night in July, at a bar in downtown called ‘The Roaring 20s’.”
“This is where the story gets interesting,” McCracken said. “For the longest time, the public narrative on this was that they were seen leaving ‘The Roaring 20s’ and crossing Hale Street into the parking lot where the old ‘Holly Hotel’ used to be.”
“We know Jay Farley was murdered. We know Mazie May is missing. What we don’t know is how they got that way.” — Sean McCracken, Mysterious WV
But according to Farley’s mom, the whole story remains untold.
“We have had reports that after they left ‘The Roaring 20s’ bar,” Farley said. “They were seen in the ‘Holly Hotel’ parking lot. From what we understand, someone gave them a ride because neither one of them drove. They went down to the ‘Kings Inn.'”
“I thought ‘oh no!’ all these years,” McCracken said. “What could’ve been holding it up is they could’ve been looking in the wrong place.”
While law enforcement knew about their presence at “Kings Inn,” it was never included in any media reports. Neither was the name of the person who drove the couple that night, Bill Cottrell, who they met up within the parking lot near “The Roaring 20s” bar.
RETRACING THEIR STEPS
“We go two miles to Patrick Street where they were actually last seen,” McCracken said.
“Right as he was pulling into the parking lot, Bill Cottrell remembered Mazie Mae saying, ‘oh he’s in there,'” McCracken said. “But they never found out who ‘he’ was.”
Others remember speaking to the group of three as they entered the bar.
“Mazie Mae excuses herself and goes upstairs saying she was going to talk with whoever’s car she saw,” McCracken said. “Jay goes upstairs a little while later to check on her and that’s the last time they are ever seen.”
“So much could’ve been done if it had happened today, but it was 1979. It was a different world back then. It took them six months to connect that neither one of them came home that night because one was reported (missing) in Charleston and one was reported in Dunbar.” — Krista Farley Raines, Jay Farley’s sister.
To this day, Mazie Mae Sigmon-Palmer has not been found.
In 1984, the Farleys did get an answer but not the one they had prayed for.
“It was five years before they found his remains,” Raines said. “And that just randomly happened. A security guard walked farther down the hill than he had before or we might not have even had those answers.”
His remains were found about 30 miles from Charleston in Fayette County near a mine off of Cannelton Hollow Road.
“From the police report and other information, he was killed at the site where they found his remains,” Farley said. “My husband and I went to the site and we just looked around and we just could not understand how someone could do something like that.”
“A lot has changed in 41 years,” McCracken said.
What hasn’t changed is someone knows what happened to them. His father and grandmother both passed away not knowing what happened to him or why. Now, his mother fears she will too.
“That’s my hope and prayer that someone out there will just give us closure.” — Goldie Farley, Jay Farley’s mother.
His sister shared those sentiments.
“It’s the peace that my family needs, that we deserve,” Raines said.
“He was an amazing man.”
If you have information pertaining to this case, visit the Kanawha County Sheriff’s Office anonymous tipline.
Thank you to Sean McCracken for his assistance with this report.