Brunswick County, NC (WWAY) — Nine years ago, a man was found shot to death in his home near Leland.
The murder of Mark Johnson, 54, remains unsolved.
Neighbors say Johnson lived in a nice, quiet neighborhood off Highway 133 in Brunswick County. Johnson lived on Red Fox Run in 2008. Neighbors only saw him in passing, but his daughter Michaela Yates, who now lives in South Carolina, probably knew him better than anyone else.
“We talked on the phone every day. He was my best friend,” Yates said.”
Yates said Johnson was a man who believed in second chances.
“He was a really good guy with a great heart, but he had his demons, which is why he always believed in giving second chances,” Yates said.
She said he owned his own roofing business with Dan Deblasio, a friend who Yates said was more like family.
“I knew him very well,” Yates said. “He was friends with my father for years before they were partners. They employed people who needed a second chance regularly.”
Civilian Investigative Specialist Jim Westbrook with the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office said Deblasio was the last known person who spoke to Johnson on Saturday October 18. Two days later, he said Deblasio started getting worried.
“Because he didn’t show up on Monday morning for work, so he went over to his house and had to knock the door down, came in and found his body,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook said Johnson had been shot to death and was found in the middle of his house where he had fallen.
“I was supposed to be up there the weekend that he died, but it was my birthday so I stayed home,” Yates said. “I got the call the next day and I was really scared, because he didn’t answer my phone calls the day before and so it, it knocked me off my feet.”
Westbrook said they do not know when exactly it happened.
“We have indication he was alive Saturday,” Westbrook said. “There is no indication whether or not he died that night or Sunday.”
He also said it is difficult to tell how the suspect got inside.
“When Mr. Deblasio came to find the body, he broke in the front door so there was no indication if you know there had been any previous damage,” Westbrook said.
Westbrook said they do know about a previous break-in.
“We found out that his house had been broken into earlier that year,” Westbrook said. “There was indications that he may have had a large amount of money, so we are looking at the probability that this was related to an attempt at armed robbery.”
Westbrook also said there was probably more than one individual involved in this crime. He said they have a strong case, but they just need a little more.
“What we need basically is someone with first hand knowledge to come forward and provide that last bit of information that we need to permit us to bring the guilty parties to justice,” Westbrook said.
If you have any information, please contact the Brunswick County Sheriff’s Office.