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The body of a 68-year-old man believed to have been kidnapped by a North Carolina fugitive, who eluded officers for six days, has been found.

A member of the Skyland Fire and Rescue Department found the body of Mills River resident Thomas Bryson in a corn field in Arden on Sunday night.

The cause of death has not been determined.

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Philip Michael Stroupe II was driving Bryson’s truck when authorities found and captured him in Yancey on Thursday after a search that closed parts of the Pisgah National Forest for days. Authorities believe Bryson was kidnapped on Wednesday.


Stroupe was wanted on a litany of charges, including drug possession, fleeing or alluding arrest and possession of a firearm by a felon.

Henderson County Sheriff Charles McDonald said, in addition, Stroupe will likely face murder charges in the coming days, in addition to multiple charges levied in Buncombe, Transylvania, Henderson, Yancey and McDowell counties.

Three people accused of helping Stroupe hide from police will face a judge Monday. Fredrick Badgero, Jennifer Hawkins and Larry Hawkins were charged Saturday.

The trio claims Stroupe threatened to kill them if they didn’t help him.

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