Benson, N.C. — The father of a man whose body was found in a pond near Benson this weekend says he doesn't think the Johnston County Sheriff's Office took the family seriously when it asked deputies to search the body of water.
Charles Thornton Sr. said Monday that he reported his son, Charles Thornton Jr., 41, missing around 10 p.m. Thursday after he never returned home from feeding fish at the family pond.
When the family went to authorities about the possibility that the younger Thornton might have fallen in the lake, Charles Thornton Sr. says he asked repeatedly for deputies to search the pond but was told the case didn't meet the criteria for doing so.
Johnston County sheriff's Capt. Chris Strickland said investigators searched Thursday and Friday at the pond and in surrounding areas but found no indication that anyone fell in.
Family members found Charles Thornton Jr.'s body Saturday afternoon after they used a grappling hook to drag the bottom of the pond.
The body was so decomposed that the family says they cannot have an open-casket funeral.
Authorities and the family say they are both awaiting autopsy results to find out how Thornton died.
Thornton lived in South Dakota and had three young children.