‘Person of interest’ charged in Catawba Co. homicide

Updated: May. 31, 2019 at 7:40 AM EDT
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CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - Officials have charged a man in connection to the killing of Emden Lee Syres Jr. and stealing a vehicle in Catawba County.

On Thursday night, officials say 32-year-old Justin Dalton was located in a car on Springs Road in Hickory. He was arrested after a brief foot chase, officials say.

Dalton had been sought since the body of 47-year-old Syres was found Wednesday. Officials say Dalton was found Thursday night in the car that belonged to Syres that was missing from the homicide scene.

On Wednesday, around 9 a.m., officials say they received a call reporting that their co-worker had not shown up for work. The caller requested that a deputy check on the subject at their residence located in the 3000 block of Sigmon Dairy Road in Newton.

The investigation began when deputies found Syres’s body at a home on the road during a welfare check. Officials say Syres had not been seen in two days.

Deputies said there were active warrants for larceny of a motor vehicle for Dalton in connection to the homicide.

The stolen vehicle is being searched for possible other evidence. Dalton is in custody and being interviewed.

Eddy Lusk says he has been friends with Syres for a long time, and that the death is hard to take.

“Terrible,” said Eddy, “He was my buddy.”

Lusk said Dalton had stayed in the home off and on with his friend. Authorities say Dalton is from Alexander County. Deputies there said they were familiar with him. A search is underway there and elsewhere to find him, said officials.

Meanwhile, investigators continued to collect evidence at the scene into the early evening on Wednesday. A thin pole could be seen sticking out of the wall near the bedroom where Syres was found. Officials said it showed the trajectory of a bullet. As of Wednesday evening, they could not be certain when that hole was made.

No details about a possible motive has been made public.

Dalton also had warrants for child abuse and driving while license revoked out of Alexander County.

Anyone with information about the case should call the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office at 828-464-5241 or 911.

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