Burke County man missing after ransom demand; second arrest made

VALDESE, NC — The Burke County Sheriff's Office is looking for a Valdese man after his family said they received phone calls demanding money in the amount of $700 for his return.

On Jan. 19, the Valdese Police Department and Burke County deputies began working on the case after 30-year-old Carlton Lamaar Edmondson's family said they received a call from a person they didn't know, claiming he'd been kidnapped.

A joint investigation by deputies and the SBI led to Boone and then Johnson County, Tennessee, where detectives identified the alleged kidnapper as 31-year-old Robert Leroy Littleton, III.

Robert Leroy Littleton, III (image courtesy Burke County Sheriff's Office)

(Robert Leroy Littleton, III/image courtesy Burke County Sheriff's Office)

Littleton allegedly told them Edmondson was taken to a remote location in Tennessee, assaulted, and then left there.

Edmondson has not been found.

On Tuesday, Littleton's wife, Leigh Katherine Littleton, was charged with first-degree kidnapping.

Authorities said there is cellphone video of Edmondson getting beat up.

His parents want to know where their son is.

“I'm very worried,” his father, Robert Pearson, said. “I'm just hoping my son is alive and well. We just want him home."

"At this point, I'm thinking this is just some mad joke,” his mother, Lanisha Kincaid, said. “I didn't think it was real. I didn't think it was believable. I thought, ‘Not my baby.’”

Littleton is charged with first-degree kidnapping. He's being held in Tennessee pending extradition back to North Carolina.

The Burke County Sheriff's Office said the investigation continues and more arrests and charges are pending.

"He's loved,” Pearson said. “He's missed. Put yourself in our shoes if you had a kid. You'd want to know where he's at."

Edmondson is 5’09”, approximately 250 lbs, with black hair, and brown eyes.  Anyone who may have information about his whereabouts should contact the Burke County Sheriff’s Office at (828) 438-5500 or Morganton/Burke Crimestoppers at (828) 437-3333.

All Crimestoppers tips are anonymous, and anyone with information leading to his location may receive a cash reward.   You can also contact the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department at (432) 727-7761.

Carlton Lamaar Edmondson (image courtesy Burke County Sheriff's Office)

(Carlton Lamaar Edmondson/image courtesy Burke County Sheriff's Office)

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