He remains a legend in the Bear Creek community.

John D. Smallwood Jr. was 55 years old when he was found shot to death inside his home on Jan. 17, 2010. More than eight years later his death remains a mystery to law enforcement. Family members believe someone knows what happened.

“We need hard evidence and witnesses to come forward,” Onslow County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Chris Thomas said. “Even if it’s someone who heard something but wasn’t necessarily there at the time, we want to hear from you."

Thomas and the investigators know the type of caliber round that killed Smallwood but only say a “firearm” was used in the shooting. During the investigation, detectives scoured the property on which Smallwood lived including a natural pond in front of his home.

On Dec. 13, 2017, Smallwood’s older brother, Nelson “Hound Dog” Smallwood along with his wife Rosa raised the ante on his late-brother’s reward by presenting a $1,600.25 check to the Jacksonville Onslow Crime Stoppers program during a gathering at the Onslow County Sheriff’s Office attended by Sheriff Hans Miller, Col. Donnie Worrell, Maj. Chris Thomas and Capt. Linwood Darden.

In addition to the $1600.25, Miller’s office contributed $1,000 to the reward bringing the possible payout of more than $5,100.25, which includes $2,500 from Crime Stoppers.

“Somebody knows who killed my brother. Money talks and we’re going to do this each year until the murderer is caught,” Nelson Smallwood said. Smallwood said another benfit barbeque is planned for later this year around September.

Smallwood was an Onslow County native and lived at the family homestead at 201 Smallwood Road in the Bear Creek community of Hubert near his step-mother and other relatives at the time of his death. Smallwood shared his home with a roommate, James R. Powers.

Authorities had suspicions but no one has been charged with his death. In a statement released Dec. 13 by the OCSO, authorities said there have been “few new leads in the case with many leads having been exhausted and many tips having been followed up on” though Thomas is hopeful someone has the missing piece of information that may provide evidence necessary to make an arrest.

If you have information you believe can be helpful to law enforcement with this case contact the OCSO at 910-455-3113 and ask for Capt. Linwood Darden or Maj. Chris Thomas. Crime Stoppers offers cash rewards up to $2,500 for information deemed of value of assistance to law enforcement. Callers to Crime Stoppers may remain anonymous and never have to reveal their identity when calling 910-938-3273. Information can also be anonymously texted via Text-A-Tip by typing TIP4CSJAX and your message to 274637.


Reporter Mike McHugh can be reached at 910-219-8455 or email mike.mchugh@jdnews.com.