Decomposing body found in woods, feet away from missing man’s wallet in Alexander County

The wallet that was found in the woods close to the body contained a North Carolina Identification Card.
Published: Sep. 28, 2021 at 5:21 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2021 at 5:36 PM EDT
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ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. (WBTV) - A one-vehicle crash on a country road in Alexander County resulted in the discovery of a decomposed body that authorities believe is a man they’ve been trying to find for weeks.

It started when a man went off the road and hit a tree head-on. He was shaken up and family members came to help him.

On Sept. 28, around 7:30 a.m., officials say the Alexander County Emergency Communication Center received a call about a car crash on County Home Road, near the intersection of Millersville Road.

Alexander County EMS, along with North Carolina Highway Patrol responded to the crash. The driver of the wrecked vehicle was transported to a local hospital.

During the crash, officials say the driver’s dog escaped the wrecked vehicle. Officials say the driver’s brother came to the scene to wait on a wrecker that was requested by the owner of the vehicle. The wrecker was coming from Caldwell County.

As the driver’s wife took him to get medical help, his brother started looking for his dog that jumped out the SUV window when the wreck happened.

The brother walked into the woods, calling for the dog. While in the woods, he came upon a wallet.

Several feet away from the wallet, officials say the brother saw what looked like a human body severely decomposed. At that time, he immediately called the Alexander County Emergency Communication Center and reported the discovery.

At 9:28 a.m., Alexander County Sheriff Deputies and Investigators responded to the scene. An investigation ensued and it was confirmed that a human body had been discovered, suffering from severe decomposition.

The wallet that was found in the woods close to the body contained a North Carolina Identification Card with the name of 39-year-old Jason Anthony Riddle.

A North Carolina Medical Examiner was contacted and responded to the scene. The Medical Examiner scheduled an autopsy for identification purposes and attempt to determine cause of death.

On Sept. 9, 2021, Jason Riddle was reported missing by a family member to the Alexander County Sheriff Office. A report was filed and an investigation began.

Since the report had been filed, officials say investigators have received several possible leads, which were followed up on. All leads were exhausted, with Jason Riddle failing to be located.

For now, the death is considered suspicious, says Sheriff Chris Bowman.

“It’s not normal for a body to show up in a wooded area,” Bowman said.

Officials say they don’t know how Riddle wound up where he was found and have investigators and others working the case.

Bowman says the situation where a wreck happened in just the right spot, and a dog escaped, and all that led to the discovery of the body just yards away is more than just luck.

“The good Lord, that’s the way he works,” Bowman said. 

He says investigators will treat the case as a homicide until they know different and that nothing has been ruled out. He hopes more answers will come with the autopsy.

The driver of the SUV was shaken up and is expected to be okay. The missing dog showed up at his home later in the afternoon, four miles from the wreck scene.

Sheriff Chris Bowman is asking the public to come forward with any information regarding this investigation. Contact the Alexander County Crime Stopper 828-632-8555 or Alexander County Sheriff Office Detectives at 828-632-1111.

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