Eighty-seven-year-old Kyle Harrington was found dead in his truck Thursday, about a mile from U-S Highway 421.
Harnett county sheriff's officials believe Harrington was driving 22-year-old Andra Vencenta Ray to a friend's house when his truck crashed.
When officers got to the scene, they found Harrington had been stabbed to death, possibly with a box cutter razor found in the truck.
Ray has been charged with first-degree murder and kidnapping.
Harrington was a prominent businessman, farmer, church elder, former court clerk, and served almost 50 years on the board of directors of South River Electric Membership Corporation. It was initially thought the crash had caused his death; subsequent investigation by detectives revealed the murder.
Ray was a former employee of Harrington.
Investigators won't comment on a motive; some of Harrington's friends think it may have been robbery.
Ray is being held in Harnett County Jail pending his next court appearance.