Authorities haven’t identified suspect; daughter also injured

Published 12:00 am Thursday, November 7, 2013

An 87-year-old man was found dead Wednesday morning at his eastern Rowan County home in what authorities are calling a homicide. His daughter was badly injured.

J.D. Furr and 62-year-old Sandra Steen were found lying outside the home in the 6200 block of River Road, just off Stokes Ferry Road, by a relative around 8:15 a.m., the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office said.

Furr was near the back of the house, and his daughter was lying in the driveway. She was taken to Stanly Memorial Hospital in Albemarle, then transferred by helicopter to another unidentified hospital in the region where she is in the intensive care unit, the Sheriff’s Office said.

The extent of Steen’s injuries is unknown. Officials report it was an assault and they are searching for suspects. Investigators say there was an apparent robbery, but have not said what items were taken from the property. It is not known if the incident occurred sometime overnight or early Wednesday morning.

The relative told investigators everything was fine Tuesday night at 7:30. A relative went to the home Wednesday morning to help Furr with some work. The home is in a remote area, where neighbors are quite a distance away.

Bloodhounds were used to search around the home, including surrounding wooded areas.

There is no description of a suspect. Investigators are asking neighbors or anyone who was in the vicinity to come forward with information that might help in the investigation.

Kevin Coughenour, a newspaper carrier, was making a delivery just after 10:30 a.m. Wednesday when he stumbled upon investigators at the crime scene.

Coughenour said he’s known the victim for at least a decade and called Furr a nice, polite man.

“I just can’t believe somebody would do something to this guy, because he’s the nicest man you’d ever meet. He’s very nice and I’m shocked,” Coughenour said.

He said Furr would regularly meet him at the mailbox and stop to talk. The carrier said Furr sometimes gave him produce and eggs.

“I just can’t believe this happened,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Rowan County Sheriff’s Office at 704-216-8700.