Fortunately, my local sheriff's department has decided to take on my improbable but honorable cause. They are recruiting the assistance of a local ATF agent who is a good friend and resource of theirs. So, my chances have improved ever so slightly, but remain slim. Like they said, we won't know unless we try. It will involve offline NCIC searches, contacting the NC DOJ and SBI to track down the original police report case# and info, along with whatever the ATF can do or suggest. The sheriff thinks that the info could have been entered into the NCIC database, but that the data could have been purged if it was not regularly validated. So, an offline NCIC search may show if the gun was in the database at one point. I am very fortunate to live in the county that I do, in Kansas, where the sheriff's office cares enough to even consider this type of request. I am very grateful for their efforts. So, as long as the gun wasn't destroyed and eventually made it's way into the hands of a collector, there is a chance, however slim. Even one in a million.
"So, you're sayin' there's a chance!"- Lloyd Christmas (Dumb and Dumber)