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Missing Garner, N.C. man found dead in Bracey

South Boston News
Thomas Earl Finch / June 22, 2017

A missing Garner, N.C. man last seen in the Bracey community of Lake Gaston was found dead Wednesday evening, according to reports from the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office.

The body of Thomas Earl Finch was found around 5:00 p.m. June 21 near Highway 903 in Bracey. He was last seen on Friday, June 16 at the Lake Gaston Inn in Bracey.

Major Terry Edmonds with the Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office said the body was found was found inside of a locked structure on abandoned property where searchers had been looking for the man. The body has been taken to the state medical examiner's office to determine the cause and manner of death.

Edmonds said there was no sign that Finch was kidnapped or any other sign of foul play, and they are awaiting the results of the autopsy to determine the cause of death. “This will be an ongoing investigation until we get the results of the autopsy,” Edmonds said.

Police had released Finch's photo Monday and asked for the public's help in finding him.

The Sheriff’s Office had initiated a search of the area near the Lake Gaston Inn after receiving a call about an abandoned car in the parking lot of Kingswood United Methodist Church on Highway 903 in Bracey. Edmonds said deputies who checked the vehicle registration to determine the owner learned that Finch had been listed as missing from Garner, N.C.

On Tuesday, June 20, an extensive search was begun with Mecklenburg County deputies and members of Virginia Department of Emergency Management with their K-9 unit. Finch was positively identified after his body was located.

The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office would like to thank the community of Bracey for all their help and support as well as the members of the Lake Gaston Volunteer Fire Department for the use of their building and Toppers Pizza for feeding all involved in the search.

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