Local News

Robbery suspect who jumped in Cape Fear River still missing

Posted January 8, 2014

— Fayetteville police divers braved bone-chilling water Wednesday afternoon to search for a robbery suspect who jumped into the Cape Fear River hours earlier and disappeared.

The suspect, who has not been identified, was not found after a dive team was dispatched about 1 p.m.

The incident began about midnight when officers received a report of an armed robbery at the Kangaroo convenience store at 4000 S. Main St.  About 30 minutes later, Fayetteville police Sgt. E. Ketchum saw a teal Ford F-150 matching the suspect vehicle description on North Eastern Boulevard and attempted to stop the pickup truck.

During the traffic stop, a female passenger, identified as Brandy Baker, jumped from the vehicle as the driver sped off, police said. She was taken into custody without incident, questioned, and was later released.

The driver led police on a pursuit that ended on Medina Road. Sgt. Ketchum's vehicle lost traction on frozen vegetation and slid into the rear of the pickup truck, resulting in minor damage to the front of his patrol car, police said.

The suspect then jumped into the Cape Fear River near his family's property. Medlock said the man climbed down a ladder into the river.

"Thank goodness (because) my sergeant, who didn't know the ladder was there, if he had continued to run, would have gone off a 3-story cliff," Medlock said.

Medlock said the man was trying to swim across the river when he began calling for help. Fayetteville Police Sgts. Patrick Berg and Phillip Young jumped into the water to save the man but were unable to reach him, police said.

Medlock called the sergeants heroes. The officers had a change of clothes in their cars and did not require medical attention, he said.

"Those two men are heroes for me," Medlock said. "They did exactly what a police officer or a firefighter takes the job to do, and that is to save a life. I gave them my appreciation and told them they were crazy."

Officers searched by boat and in surrounding woods. Medlock said the river has a fast-flowing current, so the man could have traveled far from where he entered the water.

Detectives think the suspect might have been involved in other robberies.

Neighbor Randy Page said Brandy Baker is the girlfriend of the suspect.

"She was upset," he said. "She wanted to get her clothes and leave."


This story is closed for comments.

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  • ifcdirector Jan 9, 2014

    I hope robbing The Kangaroo was worth it..........

  • scottgagnon Jan 9, 2014

    Between the possible girl friend, the police and the folks that were robbed, you would think that someone could give a description of this individual so that it could be passed to the general public via this site. Unless of course they just don't want readers to have a description of the suspect.

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 9, 2014

    View quoted thread

    The divers looking for the body went at 1pm. The police that tried to save him went around MIDNIGHT, after the reported armed robbery began (read 3rd paragraph).

  • shortcake53 Jan 9, 2014

    Mandre4, 1 PM is afternoon, not midnight, so Misty123 needs an apology from you

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 9, 2014

    "Would you support the death penalty as a court-prescribed consequence for armed robbery?" - jackaroe123

    First offense? Maybe not, unless the mitigating circumstances warranted it. But given deadly force is okay during an armed robbery, I'd probably be okay with it, ESPECIALLY if we're dealing with a repeat offender.

    "I don't see why it would be hard to see why I wouldn't want it in this situation" - jackaroe123

    It's not. I just had a differing opinion than yours, which I thought I clearly explained.

    "I'm not really into playing the whole "what if" game based on future crimes he might commit" - jackaroe123

    I believe in being more proactive against repeat criminals. Of course, we're only talking about his possible fate, and our feelings on it, rather than what the legal system should do.

  • Lightfoot3 Jan 9, 2014

    View quoted thread

    You must be the Barney Fife of the "Internet Police" given the article CLEARY says the incident began around MIDNIGHT.

  • dogluv3r Jan 9, 2014

    Officers, kudos to you for risking your lives to save an armed robber. I don't know what I would have done in that situation, but you took a big risk jumping into those frigid waters. Thank you for all you do.

  • robertgiles1950 Jan 9, 2014

    I am curious about the Cape Fear River where all this took place. What is the water temperature? How deep is the river at that location. How high or low are the banks there.....and how swift is the current there? Clearly a move to enter into a frigid strong current was not a good move and was a move of desperation to avoid apprehension.

  • mandre4 Jan 9, 2014

    MISTY123, the dive team was dispatched at 1pm. The officers were in the water at the time of the incident, shortly after midnight. Best to double-check before you chastise others for not reading. Glad the officers are OK.

  • misty123 Jan 9, 2014

    LIGHTFOOT3... it was not the middle of the night. In case you didn't read the story thoroughly, it was the afternoon around 1 pm. I really wish people would read before commenting. Jeez