The father of Pisgah National Forest manhunt suspect Phillip Michael Stroupe II was in jail Monday, charged with being an accessory after a kidnapping, and law enforcement agencies in several North Carolina mountain counties and in Tennessee were trying to map where and when his son traveled during a six-day manhunt that ended with his capture in McDowell County.
At the same time, officials in Buncombe County were investigating the death of Thomas A. Bryson, 68, whose truck Stroupe was driving at the end of the manhunt and whose body was found off Glenn Bridge Road, south of Asheville.
The sheriff’s office in Henderson County, where Bryson lived, said late Sunday that his body had been found.
There was no immediate information from agencies on how Bryson died.
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“Our deepest sympathies goes out to the family of Tommy Bryson,” Sheriff Charles S. McDonald said.
“Phillip Michael Stroupe, father of Phillip Michael Stroupe II, has been arrested and charged with felony accessory after the fact of first-degree kidnapping,” a sheriff’s office statement said Monday.
A first-degree kidnapping indicates that the victim was hurt.
Both Stroupes live in Burnsville.
Saturday, officials said that 40-year-old Jennifer Hawkins, 45-year-old Frederick Badgero Jr. and 44-year-old Larry Hawkins had been charged with harboring the younger Stroupe in Hawkins' Barnardsville home in Buncombe County on the night that Bryson disappeared, the Associated Press reported.
Henderson authorities confirmed over the weekend that Stroupe had kidnapped Bryson July 26 and added that Bryson’s Honda Ridgeline “was in the areas of Gatlinburg and Sevierville Tennessee sometime after 10 a.m.”
That was the truck Stroupe was driving early July 27 during a chase by several agencies that ended when they used spiked strips on a road to blow out its tires, he jumped from the truck and ran on foot and a McDowell County sheriff’s deputy found a gun and then caught up to Stroupe.
Transylvania County authorities, who had labeled Stroupe armed and dangerous, had said when the search began July 22 that Stroupe had a handgun and has used it to steal a mountain bike that he rode into the forest after a car chase ended.
A Transvylvania deputy was trying to stop a car reported stolen during a break-in a short time earlier across the county line in Henderson.