National News

Deputies: Father of western NC manhunt suspect, 3 others arrested

Posted July 31

— Authorities in western North Carolina confirmed charges were filed against four people accused of harboring and possibly helping Phillip Stroupe II when he was on the run.

Stroupe was arrested in McDowell County early Thursday morning after leading deputies on a manhunt in multiple counties that began on July 22.

Stroupe was driving a truck belonging to Thomas Bryson when police spotted him in the Marion area. Henderson County Sheriff Charles McDonald said investigators believe Stroupe kidnapped Bryson, who resides in the Mills River area, Wednesday morning. The search for Bryson is ongoing.

On Saturday, Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan said deputies had learned that Stroupe visited a home in the Barnadsville area Wednesday evening.

The sheriff said the revelation led to charges against three people: Jennifer Elaine Hawkins, Frederick Aurther Badgero Jr., and Larry Jay Hawkins. As of Saturday evening, Duncan said that Badgero, Jennifer Hawkins and Larry Hawkins had all been arrested.

On Monday, Henderson County deputies confirmed Stroupe's father, 65-year-old Phillip Michael Stroupe I, was arrested and charged with accessory after the fact of felony first-degree kidnapping.

According to the arrest warrant, Stroupe I helped his son by "receiving material information concerning the disappearance of Thomas Bryson."

He was arrested before Bryson's body was found, deputies said.

He is currently being held at the Henderson County Detention Center on a $250,000 bond.

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