Fourth man arrested in disappearance of missing man Cole Thomas

Jeremy Brian Carpenter (Johnston County Sheriff's Office)

A fourth person has been arrested in connection with the disappearance of Christopher Cole Thomas, 22, who was reported as a missing person in November 2016.

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Authorities said investigators were told that Thomas and two friends were driving home to Florida for Thanksgiving on November 25 when he suddenly stopped his car and jumped out in Johnston County - vanishing in Benson. Thomas had texted his father the day before his strange disappearance.

Cole Thomas



In the weeks and months that followed, his family came from Florida to search for him.

RELATED: Father says he won't stop searching for missing son, Cole Thomas

Last week, investigators from the Benson Police Department and the NC State Bureau of Investigation presented their findings to date on the Thomas investigation to a Johnston County Grand Jury, and multiple indictments were subsequently handed down.
Authorities took 34-year-old Julian Valles Jr. of Dudley, 27-year-old Rudolfo DeLeon Jr. of Mt. Olive, and 26-year-old Anthony Ridell James Jr. of Mt. Olive into custody on July 17th.

A fourth man, 42-year-old Jeremy Brian Carpenter of Taylor Falls, Minnesota, was taken into custody in Minnesota on July 18, following information from investigators with the Benson Police Department and the NC State Bureau of Investigation.

Authorities said he was held in Minnesota until July 23, when investigators flew to Minnesota, and brought Carpenter to North Carolina for a court hearing on Monday.

Carpenter has been charged with 4 counts of felony obstruction of justice, and 1 count of felony concealment of a death. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.

Julian Valles Jr., Anthony Ridell James Jr., and Rudolfo DeLeon Jr.



Meanwhile, Valles has been charged with 3 counts of felony obstruction of justice, and 1 count of felony concealment of a death, while James is charged with 1 count of felony obstruction of justice, and 1 count of felony concealment of a death. DeLeon is charged with 1 count of felony concealment of a death.

READ MORE: THREE ARRESTED IN CONNECTION WITH DISAPPEARANCE OF MISSING MAN COLE THOMAS

According to warrants, Carpenter and Valles approached police last November and Valles said he was sitting in the rear passenger seat of the car Thomas was driving, when Thomas parked the car and ran off with the keys at the intersection of E. Morgan and N. Elm streets.

Search warrants also revealed investigators combed through Thomas' Facebook Page and traced what they thought might be activity on his email account being used in New Jersey at an educational testing service.

All three suspects were booked into the Johnston County Jail and were being processed Monday night.

No body has been found. Efforts to reach Thomas' family for comment have been unsuccessful.

READ MORE: $10,000 REWARD OFFERED IN SEARCH FOR MISSING SON IN BENSON

Related Topics:
missing mannorth carolina newsfloridaarrestBenson
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