Carlton Lamar Edmondson, 29, was first reported missing on Jan. 19, when his family contacted authorities after receiving a call demanding $700 in ransom money for their son’s return.
Investigators believe several people kidnapped Edmondson and brought him to a remote area in Johnson County, where he was allegedly assaulted and left, a Johnson County Sheriff’s Office press release said.
Last week, a joint investigation brought Burke County detectives and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation officials to Mountain City, where 31-year-old Robert Leroy Littleton, III, of Fleetwood, North Carolina, was charged with first-degree kidnapping and being a fugitive from justice.
His wife, Leigh Katherine Littleton, 30, of Boone, North Carolina, was also charged with first-degree kidnapping.
On Friday, a third person, Michael Stacey May, 39, was arrested in Watauga County, North Carolina, and charged with conspiracy to commit especially aggravated kidnapping.
The case’s latest arrest occurred Saturday when James Combs, 30, was arrested in North Carolina and charged with aggravated assault, aggravated kidnapping and extortion.
Additionally, a fifth person is expected to be charged with aggravated assault and conspiracy to commit especially aggravated kidnapping, the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office press release stated.
Edmondson has yet to be found.
WSOC-TV in Charlotte, North Carolina, reported that authorities found cell phone video of Edmondson getting beat up.
Edmondson is a black male. He stands 5 feet, 9 inches tall and weighs about 250 pounds with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone who may know information about Edmondson’s whereabouts is urged to call the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation is open and all leads are being followed.