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NC COLE THOMAS: Missing from Mount Olive, NC while on a trip - 25 Nov 2016 - Age 22

Discussion in 'Missing 2015 to Present' started by Kimster, Dec 13, 2017.

  1. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member


    Cole Thomas was last seen on November 25, 2016 on a trip from his new residence in Minnesota to North Carolina. The 22-year-old was reportedly traveling with two acquaintances he met at a new job. The last images of Cole show him inside a convenience store in the late hours of November 24 outside Mount Olive, North Carolina. The men who had been with Cole admitted to police they had been involved in a drug deal in which they had purchased methamphetamine. They said once the deal had been made, Cole became paranoid and began driving erratically. He then allegedly stopped the car, got out, and ran off. It was sometime around 3:00 a.m. Four men have been arrested and charged with concealment of Cole’s death. They are being held on bond. There is a $10,000 reward for information that leads to the location of Cole’s body, and a $5,000 reward for information that leads to further arrests and the conviction of anyone responsible for his disappearance. Despite the charges, the Benson Police Department confirmed to Dateline the case is still being treated as a missing persons investigation. Anyone with information about Cole’s case is asked to call the Benson Police Department at 919-894-2091 or the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation Raleigh Office at 919-779-8188.

    Edited by staff to add media link
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 13, 2017
  2. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Paradise likes this.
  3. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Suwannee County native Cole Thomas still missing after one year

    A year ago Saturday, a Suwannee County man went missing in North Carolina. Since then, family and friends of Christopher "Cole" Thomas haven't stopped looking for him.

    "We're searching. We're not giving up. We're praying," said aunt Darla Gatewood in a January 2017 interview with WTXL.

    What happened to Cole Thomas? It's a question his family has been asking -- for an entire year.

    "We search any road that we can possibly think that he could possibly be," said cousin Teresa Cruce in a March 2017 interview with WTXL.

    Answers have been hard to come by. Benson police say it's still an active invesitgation, but four men have been arrested -- each facing a felony concealment of a death charge.

    The family enlisted the help of private investigator David Marshburn to help them find Thomas. Marshburn drove the same route of the car Thomas was riding in to get a better idea of where he might be.

    In October, police used ATVs and K9s to search a wooded area in Benson. While law enforcement continues to look for Thomas, so are his friends and family.

    Kimster and Paradise like this.
  4. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Cole Thomas case 'is a homicide investigation'

    Family and friends of Christopher Cole Thomas were in court Wednesday as two of the four men linked to his 2016 disappearance asked for a reduction in their bond.

    Thomas, 22, was on his way from Minnesota to Florida for Thanksgiving when he was reported missing on Nov. 25, 2016. Friends said he pulled off Interstate 95, got out of the car near North Elm and East Morgan streets in Benson and disappeared.

    One month later, investigators learned that Thomas had been involved in a drug deal before his disappearance. The two men who were with Thomas confirmed to authorities that they had purchased methamphetamine from an acquaintance. After the deal, they said, Thomas became paranoid and started driving erratically before he stopped the car in Benson and ran off.

    Thomas is presumed dead, but authorities have never said if his body has been found.

    Valles was being held under $750,000 secured bond, DeLeon under $750,000 secured bond and James under $200,000 secured bond.

    DeLeon was first to appear. According to prosecutors, Thomas was last seen getting into his car.

    DeLeon's attorney, pointing out that he had spent as much time in custody as the maximum possible sentence for his single charge, asked to have his bond reduced to $10,000.

    While the judge expressed concern about holding DeLeon indefinitely, he was convinced by the prosecution that DeLeon might be a flight risk and reduced his bond only by $250,000, to $500,000.

    The prosecutor, in making a case to keep DeLeon in custody, pointed out that although DeLeon is only charged with felony concealment of a death, additional charges are possible.

    "This investigation is a homicide investigation," she said. But, pressed by the judge able when homicide charges would be forthcoming, she was unable to answer.

    In asking for a bond reduction, James' attorney said, "He is scared to death" after threats from co-defendants.

    The prosecution agreed that James was in danger, but said he'd be at a greater risk if he were freed. The judge didn't change his $200,000 secured bond but promised to review it again in two weeks.

    A fourth man, Jeremy Carpenter, who was arrested in Minnesota and linked to Thomas' appearance, appeared in the Johnston County courtroom Wednesday, and his lawyer asked for more time to review the evidence against him. Carpenter's bond is set at $500,000 secured.

    Uno2Much, spike and Kimster like this.
  5. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Two defendants in Cole Thomas case released from jail

    The family of a missing Suwannee County man is speaking out after two of the four men charged in the disappearance of Cole Thomas were released from jail.

    They say the search for Cole and getting justice has been "stressful" and "frustrating," not just for the family, but for those in the city of Benson, North Carolina. That's where Cole's family has been back and forth since he disappeared in that area just after thanksgiving in 2016.

    A Johnston County judge dramatically reduced bond for three of the four men charged with felony concealment of a death, saying Julian Valles, Jr., Rudolfo DeLeon, Jr., and Anthony James, Jr. Have served the same amount of time as they would if they were convicted on those charges.

    "We're not giving up. The investigation is still going, and we just are still hopeful that we will find Cole and find some answers and then seek some justice. The search will not stop. The searches will go on every other weekend," said Gatewood. "We're still waiting on new evidence. Somebody is going to talk, and something is going to come out -- and we'll be ready."

    Uno2Much, spike and Kimster like this.
  6. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Two suspects in Thomas case released on bond

    All four suspects arrested last year in Cole Thomas’ disappearance have now been released on bond.

    Jeremy Brian Carpenter and Anthony Ridell James Jr. are no longer booked in the Johnston County, N.C., jail, having been released on bond following a hearing last week.

    Rudolfo DeLeon Jr. and Julian Valles Jr. were already released on bond in January.

    Both men had their bonds reduced in an administrative hearing last week.

    Uno2Much and Kimster like this.
  7. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Justice sought for Cole Thomas, missing Suwannee County man

    Sunday marked two years since a Suwannee County man went missing.

    The family of Cole Thomas hasn't stopped looking for him while calling for justice.

    Since then, local authorities, volunteers and family have searched for Thomas several times in that area.

    Last year, four men were arrested in North Carolina and charged with felony concealment of a death.

    However, all of them were later released from jail.

    On Sunday, Thomas' friends and family released balloons in Benson to remember him.

    Kimster likes this.
  8. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    Charges dropped against men accused in 2016 disappearance of Cole Thomas

    Charges have been dropped against four men implicated in the disappearance of Cole Thomas, a man driving home to Florida for Thanksgiving in 2016.

    Johnston County District Attorney Susan Doyle explained the court's decision.

    "The investigation into the death of Cole Thomas is ongoing," Doyle said. "The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation continues to follow up on all new information. After a thorough review of the case as it stands today, I made the decision to dismiss the current charges in order to avoid compromising any potential future homicide prosecutions."

    Kimster likes this.
  9. SheWhoMustNotBeNamed

    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed Administrator Staff Member

    3 Years Later: Questions Remain in 2016 Disappearance of Cole Thomas in Johnston County

    Nearly a dozen people gathered in Benson Sunday to release balloons in remembrance of a man who went missing just before Thanksgiving in 2016.

    Cole Thomas has been missing for three years. His disappearance, unsolved.

    With no answers to be had, Thomas’s father, Chris Thomas, is now speaking out. "I've had so many people that's wanted to talk and I've waited on charges and it didn't happen," said Thomas.

    The Benson Police Department says this case remains under active investigation by both their department and the SBI. A $17,000 reward is still being offered to anyone who has information that could solve this case.

    In a statement released to Spectrum News, the department said:

    “The Benson Police Department is continuing to actively investigate the disappearance of Christopher Cole Thomas. We partnered with the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation shortly after Cole Thomas was reported missing, and they continue to offer their assistance to us, with manpower and technical expertise, and as liaisons to various other state and federal agencies and resources. As leads are developed and information received, it is promptly followed up on by our department’s investigators, and/or by SBI agents; and interviews, searches, and other advanced investigative means are still being utilized in this case.

    We stay in contact with the Thomas family on a regular basis, and we have communicated on multiple occasions our sincere and shared goal to locate their son and return him home…

    Someone, somewhere has the information needed to resolve this case, and bring closure to the Thomas family, and one telephone call or email could potentially help make that happen."

    Thomas says he believes his son is dead and he is now fighting for justice.

    No remains have been discovered in this case.

    Anyone with information is encouraged to contact the Benson Police Department at 919-894-2091 or by email at crimeline@bensonpd.org, or the SBI at 919-779-8188, or 1-800-334-3000 after business hours.

    noZme and Kimster like this.
  10. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    I believe they have been working on the case or else they wouldn't have had two defendants that were able to get off. There must not be enough evidence, or the evidence has been compromised in some way.
    SheWhoMustNotBeNamed and noZme like this.
  11. kdg411

    kdg411 Resource Mod

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