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Update: Found body identified

Update: Investigators believe a body found in a wooded area is that of Bryan Merrill, according to Sheriff’s Detective Chad Moose.

“Right now it appears that it’s him. We have a lead that it may be him,” Moose said Thursday afternoon.

The family has been contacted and investigators are awaiting confirmation from the medical examiner’s office in Chapel Hill.

SALISBURY – The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office is asking for help to identify a body discovered Wednesday afternoon near the 12200 block of Stokes Ferry Road.

Sheriff’s deputies were called to the scene about 2:30 p.m. Wednesday to investigate a found body. An employee of ABC Professional Tree Service, which contracts with Union Power Company, told investigators that while mowing, he had located a person hanging from a tree just inside the woods.

The body appeared to be a male and was found sitting on the ground with a belt wrapped around his neck, Capt. John Sifford said. The belt was tied to a pine tree branch about six feet above the ground.

It was apparent to investigators that the body had been there for an extended period and appeared to have settled and come to rest on the ground, Sifford said.

The body appeared to have red facial hair and was wearing a cross necklace, gray hoodie, blue jeans and Timberland boots.

The Rescue Squad was called to transport the body, which will be sent for an autopsy.

There was no identification located on the body, Sifford said. Investigators are checking all open missing person cases in the region, but no match has developed.

Anyone with information about this investigation should contact Lt. Chad Moose at 704-216-8687.

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