Reward offered in case of Florida man who went missing in Benson

Christopher Cole Thomas

It’s been 87 days since Christopher Cole Thomas was reported missing in Benson, and now the governor has offered a reward for information leading to the arrest of those responsible for his disappearance.

Benson police and State Bureau of Investigation officials and other law enforcement officers have spent thousands of hours in dozens of searches for Thomas since he was reported missing on Nov. 25. Law enforcement and volunteers have combed Benson and other locations on foot, using trained dogs, and in the air using aircraft piloted by the SBI and State Highway Patrol.

The 22-year-old Florida man went missing after stopping his car in Benson and running away, people who knew him told police.

Gov. Roy Cooper is offering a reward up to $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for his disappearance.

“To preserve law and order the person or persons who committed such an infamous crime must be brought to justice,” Cooper’s proclamation read.

Benson police Capt. Greg Percy said it’s still a missing person case and the investigation so far has not turned up any evidence that would confirm or disprove that a homicide took place.

“We are still actively investigating the disappearance though, and are hopeful that this new reward offer will prompt members of the public to come forward with information that could assist us,” Percy said.

Benson police received a report of a missing person about 3 a.m. Nov. 25. Two people said they had been traveling with Thomas on Interstate 40 en route to Durham when he stopped the car in Benson. Thomas got out and ran into a neighborhood at North Elm Street and East Morgan Street, his passengers said. They tried to find him but couldn’t.

Tips have come in from multiple counties and even other states. North Carolina agencies are working across borders to collect information.

The Thomas family, with the CUE Center for Missing Persons, is offering a $10,000 reward for information about Thomas’ whereabouts.

Thomas is white, stands about 6 feet 1 inch tall and weighs about 230 pounds. He has brown/blonde hair and blue eyes. He was last seen wearing black pants, a blue shirt and a blue and white ballcap.

Thomas was living in Live Oak, Fla., but working in Minnesota, and was headed through North Carolina to spend Thanksgiving with a co-worker in Durham, police said.

Anyone with information about Thomas and his disappearance should call the Benson Police Department at 919-894-2091 or the Raleigh office of the State Bureau of Investigation at 919-779-8188.

Abbie Bennett: 919-836-5768; @AbbieRBennett