Burris had a distant relative living in the area, Turner said, but they hadn't seen each other in years.
Gaffney police are focusing on why Burris chose their community, how he selected his victims and why he stole “odd stuff” from their homes, leaving money and valuables behind.
“The answers to these questions went to the grave with him,” Turner told the Observer. “But he may have talked to somebody. … He might have written a little manifesto or a diary. Serial killers are strange people.”
He was released from a prison in Lincoln County in April, after serving over seven years for a series of break-ins and being a habitual felon. He was ordered to nine months supervision by the state probation department.
But almost immediately, Burris began missing his 8 p.m. curfew. Twice he was cited for driving while his license was revoked.
Probation officer Angela Merrill on June 4 submitted a violation report to the N.C. Parole Commission.
She had him arrested June 12 when she realized he had driven himself to an appointment at the Lincoln County probation office.
Later that day, Merrill got a warrant from the parole commission, ordering that Burris be held in jail until a decision could be made about whether he should be sent back to prison.
But Merrill didn't take immediate steps to ensure Burris remained in jail.
About six hours later, he was released on the driving charge from the Lincoln County jail.
The killing began two weeks later.