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Investigators believe River Road murder victim died from gunshot wound


An investigation is underway after a 20-year-old man was found dead on the side of River Road early Thursday morning. New Hanover County Sheriff's deputies are searching for his killer.

Investigators believe Alton Corey Vann, who went by Corey, died from a gunshot wound to the head. They are awaiting autopsy results to confirm his cause of death.

A driver called 911 just after 12:30 a.m. Thursday after seeing Vann's body on the side of the road.

Family members say Vann called his father when he left work at a Brunswick County nursing home around 11:00 Wednesday night, and said he was tired and going home. That was the last they heard from him.

Investigators believe they have strong leads, but are asking for your help.

"We are asking anyone with information pertaining to this investigation or anyone who was in the area of River Road last night, that may have seen anyone walking, anyone suspicious in the area, any cars that may have been stopped to contact the sheriff's office," Dep. Charles Smith said.

Vann has a criminal record, including drug possession, stolen goods possession, and carrying a concealed weapon.

The Sheriff's Office has a special command center set up for this investigation. You can reach it by calling (910) 342-2490 or (910) 342-2484.

Investigators closed River Road for hours Thursday morning, slowing down the morning commute for many drivers.

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.



I knew the darkside and the light side of corey and I tell you this his light side over shined his darkside by a mile. He was not being recruted into any gang, and my belief is this is much deeper then any drug deal gone bad or ratting out anyone. These things are smoke screens to deploy the truth. The truth shall set you free, read between the lines. He was not a thug he was a young man who worked with his hands and liked to party, after work. I love you corey, you will always be my bro and I will find the truth so help me God...

you people are so

you people are so what if he use to do me one person that has never done cant...okay he got in trouble in the past...he was changing his life around for the better...get over it he only cleaned up there...i bet half of you guys think your to good to do it and someone has to do it...just be glad that there are people out there to do that type of job...what would you do if that was your son or family member that got killed you would be mad if anyone said anything bad about him. you should only be thinking of the good things that he did not the a person that lost a young age i feel so sorry for you and i know how if makes you feel to know people talk bad about them...i didnt really know corey but i did know who he was....he was one of the sweetest people ever and will be missed by alot.. you guys need to grow up and just shut the hell up and get over it...just be glad that that wasnt your family memeber that this happened to....and those of you who are fussing because you were late for work...get over would want the cops to do the same thing for you its life!!!!!!!! I heart goes out to coreys family and friends!!! God bless!!! --Jessica Lanier--

wow jessica...there are so

wow jessica...there are so many people i know who have never done drugs and never need to get your facts straight.

If you include alcohol, then

If you include alcohol, then yeah I guess I have used drugs in the past....but I've never used any type of narcotic, stole anything, robbed anyone, or possess stolen items. And since he had an outstanding warrant and just got out of jail less than a month before he was killed, exactly how do you come to the conclusion he was turning his life around.

My condolences to Corey's

My condolences to Corey's family. What really concerns me is the still out there....What kind of monster would do that? Who's child is next? I hope they find whoever was responsible for your, Corey's death. I am so sorry.


Why must the news article about this Young Man's Death even have to add the comments about his past charges? Won't that come in the Court Trial of the (hopefully soon) caught Murderer? Which that is still no Good reason to take a person's LIFE! He has a Family & apparently many Friends who are Grieving for him right now. Leave his past for any Future references, not for the love of selling papers or making the news!!! From a Mother who has lost a Child, my Prayers go out to the Family & Friends of Corey!!!

tg2104 //why all the

tg2104 //why all the negativity!! I didnt know the young man but it sure sounds like he was trying to turn his life around and was making good choices. He was murdered and his family will not be able to be with him ever again. There are alot of people who still make bad choices and there will be alot more in the future who will do the same but at least give the ones who try to change their lives a little credit!!!!

What a shame

This story is sad for many reasons. A young man loses his life for what reason? A family's life will never be the same because they lost a loved one so tragically. Someone out there killed him and will be found - then there will be more shattered lives. But what makes me the saddest is the selfishness of the people that were mad because of being stuck in traffic, late for work or wherever they were going. A life is destroyed and you are worried about the traffic. What a sad commentary on life! Reminds me of the incident in New Jersey at Thanksgiving when the greeter at Walmart was trampled to death in the after Thanksgiving sale, and people got angry because the store had to be closed while the police and rescue investigated what had happened. Some of the people got upset because they couldn't continue their shopping for the sales! HOW SAD!!! Selfishness has taken over alot of people and it will only get worse.


Well, Folks.. This Young Man was one of Long Leaf Parks own. I knew of Him Personally.. Though, I've not talked with Him in about a month..(New Years). I wasn't all that surprized I seen that He was Murdered.. He was known to "short" people on Product, (Marijunana), from time to time.. Though, Here in the Hood, there are 3 schools of thought that are pointing to this Young Mans untimely death... One is a Possible drug deal gone bad, which I highly doubt,(though still possible), as Cory Managed to get His GED, had stopped messing with Drugs,,as He also had landed a job at a Nursing home over in Brunswick County. He was doing His best too turn His life around, realizing that drugs and Gang activity were nothing but "Dead Ends" in Life... Yes, He was trying to be "actively recruited", though shunning "Them",(the "Gang"), He didn't get involved with the budding "Gang Activity" that is getting started here in Long Leaf Park.. Second school of thought... There were quite a few Drug Bust's here in LLP, due to extensive undercover investgations,over the past few months, (THANK YOU WPD!), quite a few "dealers" were "shutdown", yes, this included Cory geting caught for simple poss....(Hence His Court appearence the next day for Marijuana)... I heard Him say During the past New Years Party, that, "He would "snitch out" anyone, before He Himself would spend time in Jail.. Speculation has it that this is maybe the case, as He was going in for a Mis. poss. when in fact, He was caught with more than "Mis. Poss"...(more than 1 ounce)... Third school of thought.. It was rumored that He had started seeing a Married woman, with a young child... Whom had recently broke up from Her estranged Husband.. (fill in the blanks).. I also wish to say this, His "Concealed Weapon Charge" was a Simple Pocket knife....Used to clean His Finger nails, just like us "Old school" guys do.. His "Larceny Charge", was, Him and a couple buddies had got mixed up with a stolen scooter, or a biycycle, joy riding... these happened when, I believe when He was still a "Minor".. However, this was a "needless" death, This Young Man was TRYING to turn His Life around, Succeding at it, landing a Job, giving up drugs, Shunning Gang recruitment, getting a GED. He was talking about going back to CFCC, learning a Trade.. Cory was a very EZ going Young Man., Very likable, with a up-beat attitude... I never saw Him Mad or ILL at anyone,,, ever... I have saw Him once or twice help a "OLD Ladies", carry a box or bag, to a car, outta the Kindness of His Heart, at the Village Stop & Shop, when the food Bank was giving away stuff. I know, if asked, He would Help out someone, Or as the old saying goes, "give you the shirt off His back", to a friend. The young Man did have good in Him.. So I hope the Lord, Looks on Him favorably for His good deeds. Forgiving the bad.. Though, Folks, this is one case of a Young Man, Whom was in the Process of Changing His Life for the better, becoming a productive Citizen.. Before He made real bad Life Changing events... Though, now, it's looking like this turn-around may have been "to late" .. Getting mixed up in the Wrong Crowd... Cory, May you rest in Peace Son... Prayers to the Family...

Thank you

Thank you for your input. I think some people see "charges" and they think the worst. Folks, you'd be amazed if you ran a background check on all of your neighbors; even the folks in posh upscale home. So don't be so quick to judge. We all live in glass houses. My prayers are with the family and friends of this young man.

Pick a story

You go back and forth contradicting yourself about him. He would "short" people in his dealing but he "had stopped messing with Drugs.” But then he got caught by the police for possession. So which is it?

Job at Nursing home?

I feel so bad for this young man and his family to lose his life this way. I'm sure he was a wonderful guy and deserved a second chance in life if he messed up before. But I too am shocked that he worked at a nursing home. In fact, he was suppose to go to court that day for a drug charge from Nov. 2008.I thought nursing homes were one place you could not work if you had any kind of criminal background. I would like to hear from the director why he was working there and how many others with criminal backgrounds are working there now. And I really hope his killer is found and punished fully. My sympathy to his family.

where's the compassion?

My understanding is that those charges were in his past and he was in recovery and making better choices. I met this young man and he was just the nicest young fellow, with a ready smile and good manners, looking forward to going to college soon to make his future better. It's hard to understand why young people choose the awful things they do, but we can only hope for the best and try to encourage them to make better choices. He was doing this, and everyone needs a job somewhere, and if working as a custodian in a nursing home was his job, then someone must have believed in him. My sympathies go out to his family, as I can't imagine the horror of losing a son/brother to a senseless murder at such a young age. Even if he slipped and made another wrong choice, he didn't deserve to die. There are many people who will miss him, including my daughter, who became hysterical at such an injustice to a dear friend. He was one of the people who encouraged her to go back to school and had agreed to help her study Thu. afternoon. Show some compassion, please. All these disparaging, ignorant remarks help no one, and hurt the surviving and grieving family and friends.

Job at a nursing home?

How did this guy get a job at a nursing home? Don't they do a criminal background check? If I had a family member there, I would be outraged. There should be an investigation.

Criminal Background

Even the Director of Nursing at Brunswick Cove Larry Gonzales has a criminal record & he currently has a restricted nursing license & is under investigation by the Board of Nursing. I can understand maybe cutting a housekeeper a break, but a senior manager who is supposed to set the example & lead others? What is wrong with this picture!

background checks???

Brunswick Cove nursing home is well known for hiring criminals. You would be outraged at the crimes some of the workers have committed. I really hope the states steps in and investigates and shuts this place down. They knowingly hire people with criminal backgrounds, and pay them extremely low wages because they know that they will not be hired anywhere else. They take advantage of these people and put their residents at risk, all in the name of saving a buck to line their own greedy pockets with. (I work there, I see this first hand every day.)

RE jobs at Nursing Homes

You will be suprised. I have worked for 10 years in the medical field here in Wilm. There are nurses that I know for a fact that are on "probation" with the NCBON. What I mean is if they have a DWI then they can't pass narcotics/controlled substances for 2 yrs. If they get cought with non prescribed narcotics, fail a drug test, the same results. If you have a loved one in a nursing home or Assisted living, you can go to the North Carolina Board of Nursing and look their name up. Any infractions that they have had will show up. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family during this time of grief.

Brunswick Cove Nursing Home

I am a Registered Nurse who worked with Corey at Brunswick Cove Nursing Home. As others have already stated, I agree that the policies at this facility are extremely lacking, as well as the ethical responsibilities of the owner. I encourage those who are concerned about things like background checks to file a formal complaint with the state by calling 910-395-4553 x208, or 1-800-218-6575. These are the people who need to be aware of your concerns so that they can conduct a full investigation. Anyway, the point of this article is about Corey, a young man with whom I worked on a daily basis. Corey was employed as a housekeeper. He went to work every day with a positive attitude and a smile on his face. His quality of work was better than any other housekeeper at the facility. Corey went above and beyond, helping out wherever he was needed, even if it was outside his department. Every day I would see him help push residents in wheelchairs to activities or the dining room, help feed residents who could not feed themselves, stop to make small-talk with residents who never have any visitors or who seem sad or lonely. There was not a single person there who did not like Corey. He brightened up everyone's day, staff and residents alike. To anyone who is concerned about the fact that this young man worked at Brunswick Cove, may you rest assured that he HELPED your grandma when no one else would, that he treated your grandma with DIGNITY and RESPECT while others were rude to or ignored her, that he put your grandma and her needs before himself and his own needs each and every day. And that he voluntarily did so out of the goodness of his heart, not because he was required to or it was expected of him. Corey aspired to become a nurse. He had the talent and intelligence to do so. He was in the process of turning his life around, and he had set goals for his future. By the way, if any of you have ever seen how the nursing assistants at Brunswick Cove treat the residents and families, or knew that nearly half have some documented issues on their backgrounds, you would thank your lucky stars that Corey Vann was there to treat your loved ones with the kindness, compassion, empathy, and respect they deserved.

I am actually in a CNA class

I am actually in a CNA class right now, and we do our clinicals in nursing homes, and we do have to have a background check first. Plus Brunswick Cove is a little wishy washy with their policies. I have heard many bad things. But I am sorry to hear about the loss of another young life, it keeps getting worse and worse.


I can not believe that people have no feelings for this boys family, just because he had problems in the past does not mean that he can not be helpful and work in a nursing home. You are cruel and all the things you say will come back and haunt you, what goes around comes around. Be kind to one another, did your mother not teach you this. It was not the road closure that had traffic backed up it was the stupid constuction at monkey junction, one lane, get a life.

We love you

Corey; WE love you!! I now know that you are in a better place and I hope that you stay in that better place until we ALL meet again... We love you and we will miss you. Love, cheyanne

My symapthy goes out to the family

My prayers and symapthy go out to Corey's friends and family. I only knew him in passing and from seeing him around my neighborhood but he was a pretty decent kid, regardless of what his record was. I know all to well what it is like to lose a loved one to murder. Two of my friends were murdered 6 years ago in what ended up being a double-murder/ suicide with a police chase that went all the way across town.

Corey always had a smile on

Corey always had a smile on his face and he will be so very missed by many of the people he worked with and helped at the nursing home. God bless to his family and I pray they find out the coward who did this to him. It is a sad world when there is no respect for life