Family, friends suspect foul play after man's body found in Avery Co. creek

AVERY COUNTY, N.C. — Sheriff’s deputies in Avery County hope an autopsy provides more clues about how a man died near a creek in Avery County.

Sheriff Kevin Frye said a truck driver discovered the victim’s body Friday while crossing a one-lane bridge on Little Squirrel Creek Road, near Newland.

The victim was identified as Marcus Hughes. Family members and friends suspect foul play in his death.

Many who live along Little Squirrel Creek near Newland were in disbelief Monday that anyone would want to hurt Hughes.

Even more disturbing for his cousin is knowing that she crossed the small bridge near her home not knowing that his body was beneath it.

"We're devastated. (We) want answers. It is so hard right now," Hughes’ cousin, Carrie Townsend, said.

Sheriff’s deputies will say only that a death investigation is underway as they await the results of an autopsy.

Neighbors said they spent hours carefully checking the area around the bridge after learning that a neighbor has one of his 10 surveillance cameras pointed in that direction.

"I hope there is something on them. There is no way there wasn't. There has to be something on them," Townsend said.

The SBI is reviewing the video Monday to see if it captured anything that explains what happened to Hughes.

"It wasn't smart if they were going to kill him to leave him right here, right beside the road. You can see it pretty clearly,” James Arnett said.

Deputies said they do not know how Hughes died or if foul play was involved.

An autopsy was scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Deputies are working closely with the SBI on the case and hope to release the results of the autopsy soon.

Channel 9 reporter Dave Faherty is digging deeper into this developing story and will have more on Eyewitness News at 5 p.m.

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