I am a skeptic. When I hear the words “Orbs”, “Cry Baby Bridge” and “EMF Detector” I shake my head. I like facts. Orbs are dust. Every town has their own Cry Baby Bridge or Lane. EMF Detectors measure naturally occurring Electro Magnetic Fields, why is this paranormal?
So when I start researching the history of St Albans Sanatorium, and was seeing the name Gina Renee Hall pop up over and over again, I was immediately skeptical. Why would a woman haunt a location that she had no tie to? She was murdered in the small town of Radford, VA, home to the haunted location St Albans Sanatorium, yes, but I’m sure she has much more reason to haunt the bastard that killed her, not a random psychiatric facility.
But this is my role with APS, I research the history behind the locations we investigate to try to uncover truth behind myths and legends. So I started researching Gina. Her story is truly tragic. On June 28, 1980, Gina Renee Hall, a freshman at nearby Radford University, was at a nightclub with friends. One friend that night, Stephen Epperly, convinced her to go back to a cabin at Claytor Lake. When she arrived at the cabin, she called her sister to let her know where she was. That was the last time anyone heard from Gina. No one knows exactly what happened, but the next morning her sister reported her missing, and shortly after, police found her car off of Hazel Hollow Rd, bloodied towels in the trunk. The police later searched the cabin to find what appeared to be blood that had been cleaned up. Over the next two weeks Gina’s clothing was found around the town. Investigators had built a case against the man last seen with her, Stephen Epperly, and charged him with murder. The case they built was that she had refused his sexual advances, and he lost his temper and murdered her. Epperly became the first person in Virginia’s history to be convicted of murder when no body had ever been found. He is serving a life sentence but maintains his innocence to this day.
So now we know who Gina is, but again, why would this young girl with a tragic end be haunting St. Albans? Most people attribute it to the car. Hazel Hollow Rd, where the car was found, is several hundred yards from the grounds of St Albans. But my research goes much deeper than that.
While trying to find information out about the case, I found an archived article regarding an appeal case for Stephen Epperly. In the comment section I noticed a comment by a man named Kenneth Ramsey. He stated that he was a Police Officer in the community when the crime occurred.
He went on to discuss how Epperly was working for a construction company at the time who had two major projects going, one, a new addition on the University, and the second, a major expansion on the St. Albans psychiatric facility. Epperly’s role was to spread gravel in the foundation pits before the concrete was laid. Retired Officer Ramsey felt that Epperly had buried the body in the St Albans foundation pit, which is why the car was nearby and the body was never found. I reached out to Mr. Ramsey to discuss this further and question why the police hadn’t followed this lead in the search for her body. He explained two things. The first was that he did not know at the time that Epperly was working the construction job, that information was learned later, after being formally charged. Second was that the Police in the two weeks that followed Hall’s disappearance, were searching every inch of the city and river. They were finding pieces of evidence everywhere, so they weren’t focused on just the location where her car was found. But looking back with this information, he feels sure she is buried in the foundation that Epperly was tasked to help build. The Foundation of St. Albans Sanatorium.
As a paranormal investigator, I often focus strongly on that second word of our title, Investigator. The “why” is so intriguing to me. Why is Gina Hall reported to haunt this location? Why would she still be here, trying to communicate with people? I feel that this information from Kenneth Ramsey is an answer to the “why”. Gina Hall was brutally murdered, her killer stuffed her in the trunk of her car, drove her to the construction site he worked at in the middle of the night and buried her in the foundation pit that would be filled with concrete soon. He then walked home as if nothing happened. And Gina Renee Hall’s spirit is left in unrest, body never found, burial never given, with no one understanding why she is still there, in a building she had no connection to in life.
I hope that I have been able to provide some peace and understanding for her.