Man charged with murder in Durham priest’s death

08/10/2014 10:43 AM

08/11/2014 5:47 AM

A 36-year-old man has been taken into custody in the death of Kent Torrey Hinkson, the Anglican priest in Durham who was reported missing a week ago.

Matthew Reed has been charged with first-degree murder and is in the Orange County Jail, according to N.C. Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Pamela Walker.

Hinkson’s body was found in Eno River State Park in Orange County early Sunday morning and has been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy.

“Due to the SBI being in the very early stages of the investigation, this is all the information I am able to release at this time,” Walker said in an email.

The SBI has jurisdiction because Hinkson’s body was found on state property. The Durham Police Department is assisting with the investigation.

Hinkson’s family first reported a suspect was in custody on its website.

“It is with the most profound sadness imaginable, we wanted to let you know that the body of our beloved father, spouse and grandfather – Kent Torrey Hinkson was found late last night,” the family’s message said. “A suspect is in custody. We learned of this on early Sunday morning, August 10th. Given the ongoing investigation, we cannot provide any further comment.”

Hinkson, 71, was last seen at his home in the Woodcroft community in southern Durham on Monday around 3 p.m.

"He went to the bank to make a deposit, Rite Aid to fill a prescription and did some food shopping for a family meal," said Kevin Anselmo, a spokesman for the family. "Somewhere in his mix of running errands, he went missing."

Hinkson and his wife, Jeline, moved to Durham almost six years ago to be closer to his children and grandchildren. They were supposed to celebrate their 48th wedding anniversary Wednesday.

Hinkson had three children and eight grandchildren.

“He was an amazing spouse, father and grandfather to our family and a trusted mentor and friend to so many others,” his wife said on the website. “We are devastated by the loss and the nature of this heinous act. We are hurting immensely.

“At the same time, we know God has a perfect plan,” she continued. “We know Kent is in a much better place. We thank God for how he has been with us in the midst of this devastating tragedy. We would never be able to get through without being reassured of His promises, grace and mercy.”

He was a pastor for more than 40 years in Florida and had taught all over the world. He became a priest at All Saints Church, an Anglican church in Durham.

He volunteered several times a week at Bennett Place, a state historic site on the west side of Durham where Confederate soldiers surrendered at the end of the Civil War.

His phone was traced through Verizon and last registered with a cell tower near the site. His red Hyundai Sonata was found about five miles from his home in a parking lot at the apartment complex Wednesday night.

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