WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — It’s been more than five years, but detectives say they finally have a man in custody for the murder of a 20-year-old man.
Detectives say a man in Texas is behind bars, and indicted for the murder of Alton Corey Vann, who was shot and left for dead on the side of the road in 2009.
“For the past five years, your detectives never stopped working. They worked hard long hours. They worked with the DA’s office and then last week we were able to actually arrest Mr. Gonzales,” New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon said at a news conference Monday.
McMahon says Larry Gonzales, 52, murdered his former roommate.
Deputies found Vann lying on the side of river road, shot in the head, in January 2009.
Soon after, friends and family met to mourn his loss.
“He was a lovable kid; he was always doing favors for everybody,” family friend Jesse Anaya said in 2009. “He was there for you when you needed him.”
Vann’s mother Julie Covey started a memorial fund in her son’s name five years ago with hopes of catching his killer.
“There are so many unanswered questions,” Covey said at the time. “We just want to know why. We just want to know who.”
Now she might finally see some answers.
A grand jury indicted Gonzales on first degree murder.
New Hanover District Attorney Ben David says he hopes this sends a strong message to criminals.
“There is no statute of limitations for any felony in North Carolina, particularly for murder, and there is nowhere you can run or hide to escape justice for a crime such as this,” David said.
Gonzales was arrested in Texas where he awaits extradition.
Police had questioned Gonzales before, and searched his home. According to a search warrant Gonzales was the beneficiary of a $20,000 life insurance policy Vann purchased weeks before his murder.
When we asked the sheriff about a motive, he couldn’t comment on the specifics of the case.