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First of six suspects found guilty in murder, kidnapping of N.C. man whose body was never found since 2018

Authorities said the “intense investigation” involved several counties in both Tennessee and North Carolina.
Robert Littleton was found guilty in Tennessee of first-degree murder and more charges in the...
Robert Littleton was found guilty in Tennessee of first-degree murder and more charges in the 2018 death of Carlton Lamaar Edmondson.(Burke County Sheriff's Office)
Published: Jul. 23, 2021 at 11:13 PM EDT
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BURKE COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - The first of six suspects has been found guilty in the 2018 murder and kidnapping of a North Carolina man whose body was never found.

Robert Littleton was found guilty in Tennessee of first-degree murder and more charges in the 2018 death of Carlton Lamaar Edmondson. Littleton faced charges of first-degree murder, especially aggravated kidnapping, conspiracy to commit especially aggravated kidnapping, extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion and aggravated assault.

Littleton will be sentenced in October. He was convicted even though the victim’s body was never found.

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The investigation began on Jan. 19, 2018 when the family of Edmondson contacted the Valdese Police Department.

Edmondson disappeared in 2018, with kidnappers reportedly calling the family and demanding money. Authorities say Edmondson was beaten to death with the suspects using a cell phone to video the crime.

Officials say that video was a key part of the state’s case this week. Authorities are still looking for Edmondson’s body.

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Authorities said the “intense investigation” involved several counties in both Tennessee and North Carolina.

Littleton and his wife, Leigh Katherine Littleton, were both arrested in Jan. 2018 after detectives began following leads in the case that led to Boone and Johnson City, TN. Investigators say they learned during an interview with Littleton that Edmondson had been taken to a remote location in Tennessee assaulted, and left there.

PREVIOUS: Man arrested in Burke Co kidnapping, but the victim is still missing

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.

Back in 2018, 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.

The trial for a second person is set for fall 2021 in Tennessee.

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