Body believed to be missing Raleigh man found in York County, officials say

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — Officials believe the body of a Raleigh man who had been missing for months has been found in York County.

Investigators with the York County Coroner's Office said after an initial investigation, they believe they have located the body of 61-year-old Martin Bankhead in a creek in a wooded area.

Bankhead was reported missing on June 10 from his home in Raleigh.

Bankhead's car was later found off the road, stuck on railroad trucks near Cureton Ferry Road in Catawba.

Officials said the investigation is still ongoing.

Bankhead's family wanted to hire a private investigator to get answers about the disappearance.

"I can't sleep, I can't eat," Bankhead's sister, Sarah Triplett, said.

Triplett said she spoke on the phone with her brother Martin hours before he disappeared from his Raleigh home several weeks ago.

Police found Bankhead's car with the driver's side door open crashed on train tracks in Catawba, South Carolina. His phone was found inside the car.

Their focus during the initial search was a ground search for Bankhead. Crews on horseback, ATVs and on foot looked through the woods off Pottery Road near Cureton Ferry Road.

Officials weren't unaware of any reason why Bankhead would have come to Catawba in the first place.

"We've been told he liked to travel," Trent Faris, with the York County Sheriff's Office, said. "I don't know where he liked to travel, to other states, other countries, why he traveled to Little Catawba. We don't know."

Bankhead, 61, was reported missing by his wife at 9:45 p.m. on June 10. His vehicle was found along Cureton Ferry Road in Catawba at 5:45 a.m. the next day.

Eric McClanahan saw Bankhead's car with its doors open around 8:30 a.m., three hours after someone called 911 to report the car was sitting on the tracks.

McClanahan said similar crashes happened there before, so he didn’t think anything of it.

“Maybe two, three times a year someone runs up the railroad track like that,” he said.

Since the vehicle was found, investigators had been calling local hospitals and hotels. They also sent out a reverse 911 call to neighbors who live within a mile radius of the crash to try and locate Bankhead.

“If you’re not from around here, you can get lost pretty easily,” Faris said.

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