BURKE COUNTY, NC (WBTV) - A man was charged with first degree murder in the violent kidnapping of a Burke County man in early 2018.
According to the Burke County Sheriff's Office, 31-year-old Robert Leroy Littleton III was indicted by a Tennessee Grand Jury for his alleged involvement in the kidnapping and possible death of Carlton Lamaar Edmondson.
Littleton faces charges of first degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, conspiracy to commit especially aggravated kidnapping, extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion and aggravated assault.
Robert Littleton and his wife, Leigh Katherine Littleton, were both arrested in January after detectives began following leads in the case that led to Boone and Johnson City, TN.
Officers with the Burke County Sheriff's Office served a felony fugitive warrant on Littleton and he had an extradition hearing on Tuesday, May 22.
According to the warrant from Tennessee, Littleton will be under a bond of $500,000 once he is taken to Tennessee.
Edmondson, 30, was kidnapped in early January from the Valdese area by several people, authorities believe.
The investigation began on Jan. 19 when the family of Edmondson contacted the Valdese Police Department.
The family said they had received phone calls from an unknown person saying their son had been kidnapped. The caller was reportedly demanding money in exchange for Edmondson's return.
Michael Stacey May, 39, James Combs, 30, Valerie Ann Dollar, 24 and Brittany Arnold were also arrested in connection to the kidnapping.
May, Arnold and Combs were charged with felony murder in the case.
Edmondson is described as a black male around 5-foot-9 and 250 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes.
Authorities said the "intense investigation" involves several counties in both Tennessee and North Carolina.
Investigators say they learned during an interview with Littleton that Edmondson had been taken to a remote location in Tennessee assaulted, and left there.
At least one suspect told authorities they thought he was still alive when they left him. Temperatures hovered in the low 20s that day. Three people did go back for him later, but no one has said what happened then, only that Edmondson has not been seen or heard from since.