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.

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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.

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