Lorene Potter, Beverly Mintz’s mother, called her at 9:45 a.m. on Monday, February 23, 1987. She was known as Jaye to family and friends. There was an ad in the local paper for Jaye’s old water bed that Lorene and Jaye were trying to sell. Jaye had the bed at her home in Leland, North Carolina, but the ad had her mother’s phone number on it, and a man had just called her to make an offer to buy the bed. Lorene told him how to get to Jaye’s house and then called her daughter to let her know the man was on his way that morning.
Someone came to look at the bed early that morning and made plans to buy it, Jaye told her mother. Lorene told Jaye to just tell the man that the bed was no longer for sale because she didn’t have any other way to get in touch with him. The 23-year-old woman told her mom she would handle it.
Andrew, Jaye’s son, was turning two the next day, and Jaye had been busy planning a party for him. Just a few hours after calling her daughter, Lorene went to her house to see if she needed any help getting ready for the party. She knew something was wrong as soon as she got close to the front door. Jaye always kept the door locked, but it was wide open. Being careful, Lorene slowly opened the front door and called for her daughter as she did so.
It made Lorene even more scared when Jaye didn’t answer; instead, she heard her grandson crying when she opened the door. When she went into her daughter’s room, she saw something out of a nightmare. Jaye was lying on the bed in a pool of blood with her hands behind her back. She had been stabbed in the back and chest several times, and someone had also cut her throat. Lorene knew for sure that she was de*ad.
Andrew, who was sitting at the foot of his mother’s bed, looked like he was in a lot of pain. He cried out, “Mean man hurt Mommy!” when he saw his grandmother.”Mama, cry.” Lorene ran out of the house with the boy in her arms. A florist was right next door to Jaye’s house. Lorene ran into the shop and yelled at the worker to call the police.
They were told that there was nothing that could be done to help Jaye by deputies from the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office. In the end, the medical examiner found that Jaye had been stabbed eight times and had a cut throat. Additionally, she had been raped. Within an hour or so of being found, she had been k*illed.
When detectives looked through Jaye’s house for possible evidence, they found a newspaper clipping with an ad for her waterbed. Because the listing for the waterbed was circled, police thought that the person who ki*lled Jaye had left the paper there. The person who called Lorene that morning might not have been the murde*rer for sure, but it looked like he was most likely the person who did it. After giving the man directions to Jaye’s house, Lorene felt terrible because she thought she was to blame for her de*ath.
That’s where Jaye’s sister Jill lived. It was on her way to North Carolina for her nephew’s birthday that she learned Jaye had been k*illed. Something that was supposed to be a happy time turned into a sad one. Jaye’s family and friends were shocked by her violent de*ath and hoped that the person who did it would be caught quickly.
Detectives started talking to everyone who knew Jaye right away. They found out that the 23-year-old woman and her military husband William had just split up. A divorced husband would usually be a suspect in a m*urder case, but investigators quickly found out that Jaye’s ex-husband could not have ki*lled her. At the time of the m*urder, he was stationed in Germany, which gave him a perfect excuse for what he did that day.
Jaye had two young children. Andrew, 5, was at home with her when she was k*illed, and B.J., 4, was visiting his paternal grandmother on the day of the m*urder. Jaye got a job as a server at a restaurant in Wilmington, North Carolina, after she and her husband broke up. She moved in with Jaye and her kids after her cousin Angela and Angela’s young daughter moved in with her. This helped Jaye pay some bills and made her feel safer. Still, Jaye seemed to know that bad things were going to happen. A week before she was ki*lled, she told Angela that she had a dream in which a strange man ki*lled her. When she woke up, she was very upset. Angela couldn’t help but wonder if Jaye knew something about the mu*rder.
Investigators found out that Jaye’s friendly and sweet personality made a lot of men want to talk to her. After she split up with her husband, she started dating again, but it wasn’t serious. Angela remembered that some men seemed to be crazy about Jaye, even though she hadn’t shown any interest in them.
Another man found out where Jaye lived and wrote “I love you, Jaye” in the gravel driveway of her home. The first man was a regular customer at the restaurant where Jaye worked and brought her a red rose while she was working. But neither of the men made Jaye feel threatened, and she was always nice to them when she saw them. When Jaye turned them down, neither man ever showed any signs of aggression.
When Jaye decided to sell her waterbed, things went from bad to worse. People who bought the local newspaper for the first time could put up one free classified ad. The free ad would run in the paper for 30 days. If the customer wanted to list the item again after that time, they would have to pay the rate for ads. Jaye used her own phone number to first put her waterbed on the market. She started getting strange calls from a man right away. Whenever Jaye or Angela answered the phone, the man would make sexual comments.
It had been 30 days and the waterbed still hadn’t been sold, so Jaye put up another ad in the newspaper. So that she could take advantage of the free offer, Lorene put up the second ad using her own phone number. However, people who had saved the first ad kept calling Jaye at home. No one knew the exact number of calls that were made about the water bed.
Police thought it was likely that one of the men who called about the water bed was the person who k*illed Jaye. It was possible that someone she knew had k*illed her, but they didn’t think it was likely because Andrew wasn’t hurt. Andrew is likely someone who was close to Jaye and wouldn’t have left him as a witness because they would have been afraid of being caught by him. The k*iller was probably someone Andrew didn’t know because he knew Andrew wouldn’t be able to give his name to the police. Andrew could only tell the police that he hid when his mother was being attacked by a white man.
No damage to the house was found, so it’s likely that the ki*ller had just knocked on the front door and asked about the water bed. Jaye told her mother that she wouldn’t let the man who called that morning look at the water bed because she had already agreed to sell it to someone else. However, it was possible that the man had offered her a higher price to get into the house. In addition, he may have pushed Jaye aside at the door before she could close it, beating her.
Detectives were busy trying to find Jaye’s k*iller, but her family was getting ready to say goodbye for good. Angela and her daughter couldn’t stay in the house where her cousin had been brutally murd*ered, so they stayed with family. Lorene watched Jaye’s kids until her ex-husband could come back from Germany. While Jaye was away, someone broke into her empty home over the weekend after she died. This was another blow to her family. A stereo was stolen after a door was kicked in, but police didn’t think that had anything to do with the m*urder. Someone broke into a few other homes in the area, and this one followed the same pattern.
Detectives talked to a lot of people in the weeks after Jaye’s de*ath but couldn’t come up with any solid suspects. The police were sure that someone had seen the ki*ller enter or leave Jaye’s house because it was on a main road with a lot of traffic. People were asked to remember what they saw on the day of the mur*der and call the police if they thought they saw anyone near Jaye’s house.
For updates, Lorene called the investigators every day. In the beginning of the investigation, she was sure that the k*iller would be caught soon. She started to wonder if the case would ever be solved as the days turned into weeks and then months. Detectives were interested in a lot of people, but they never made much progress on the case, and it soon stopped moving forward.
William, Jaye’s husband, died in 1993, leaving their two boys without a parent. The kids were given to Lorene and her husband, who then took them into their home in Bolivia, North Carolina. Andrew’s memories of his mother got weaker as he aged, and he couldn’t remember what he saw on the day she was k*illed.
After her daughter died, Lorene never fully got over it. The fact that the kil*ler was still on the loose made her grief even worse. She was afraid he would k*ill again if he got the chance. She told a reporter in 1998, “It’s like I haven’t seen her in a long time, but she was k*illed yesterday.” Our lives will never be the same after she died.
Even though it had been more than ten years, Lt. Gene Caison of the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Department said that Jaye’s case was still being looked into. He said that they had looked at dozens of possible suspects but couldn’t link any of them to the mu*rder. Detectives were still hoping that someone who knew about the crime would call them with the clue they needed to finally solve the case.
Sad to say, Lorene died in June 2007 at the age of 63 without ever finding out who k*illed her daughter. Later, Jill told Dateline that her mother had always felt bad about giving the man she thought ki*lled Jaye directions. “For the rest of her life, she felt so much pain and guilt.” It broke her heart.
Just before the murd*er, Jill said that Lorene had planned to stop by Jaye’s house, but she was late leaving the house. Something about it scared her. She always said that if she had gone by there earlier, the ki*ller might not have been able to do what they did. She believed that things might have gone differently.
In 2021, Lt. Israel West of the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office said that detectives were still working on Jaye’s case. “The goal of Brunswick County is to solve this case and give Jaye’s family peace of mind.” He said that investigators were looking into some people, but that no one had been named as a suspect in public. Since DNA technology had come a long way since 1987, Lt. West hoped that more tests on some of the evidence found at the scene would finally help them figure out who the ki*ller was.
Jaye’s case has still not been solved as of July 2023. Investigators have DNA evidence that has helped them rule out some possible suspects, but it hasn’t yet led them to the person who committed the horrible crime.
In 1987, Beverly Jaye Potter Mintz was only 23 years old when she was raped and ki*lled in Leland, North Carolina. Detectives have looked into a lot of possible suspects over the years, but they haven’t been able to connect any of them to the crime. They still think the case can be solved and are hoping that someone will call them with the information they need to get Jaye justice. Please call the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Department at 910–253–2777 if you know anything about Jaye’s de*ath.