Search for missing man continues after manhunt suspect's arrest - FOX Carolina 21

Family, law enforcement offer up to $12,500 reward for info as search continues for missing man

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Thomas Bryson (Source: HCSO) Thomas Bryson (Source: HCSO)
Honda Ridgeline (Source: HCSO) Honda Ridgeline (Source: HCSO)
Phillip Michael Stroupe II (Source: TCSO) Phillip Michael Stroupe II (Source: TCSO)

The Henderson County Sheriff's Office is continuing to search for a man who they believe was kidnapped by the suspect in a multi-county manhunt.

Deputies said 68-year-old Thomas Bryson was last seen on Wednesday leaving his residence on Wolfpack Trail in the South Mills River Road area around 8:35 a.m. on July 26. He was described by deputies as an "overdue motorist."

Deputies said Bryson left his home to pick up a nearby family for a medical appointment but he never arrived. They said he does not suffer from any known medical conditions

Bryson is described as 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 175 pounds with a gray mustache and hair. He was last seen wearing a plaid, dark colored shirt, brown cargo shorts and tennis shoes.

He was believed to be driving a silver Honda Ridgeline with a West Henderson Falcons plate on the front, as well as North Carolina tag AAR7345 and a West Henderson magnet on the back. The search radius for Bryson includes western North Carolina and Upstate South Carolina.

Firefighters, EMS and air support are assisting in the search for Bryson in the Mills River area Wednesday. Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney said they are working to activate a Silver Alert for Bryson.

His family said they appreciate the community's prayers and concern.

On Wednesday night, Henderson County Sheriff Charles McDonald said they are treating the investigation into Bryson's disappearance as a possible kidnapping connected to the manhunt for Phillip Michael Stroupe due to the location of his disappearance.

Deputies confirmed Thursday morning that Stroupe had been arrested in McDowell County and that he was driving Bryson's vehicle at the time.

There was no sign of Bryson in the vehicle and the search for him is ongoing.

Bryson's sons said the family is offering a $10,000 reward and law enforcement is offering a $2,500 reward for information leading to their father's whereabouts.

WATCH: Sons of man believed kidnapped make emotional plea for his return

Sheriff McDonald released the following statement on the search for Bryson Thursday night:

We appreciate the heartfelt community support and desire to assist in our search operations. It is imperative, however, that we leave the search efforts to our professional and capable law enforcement and partner organizations. Systematic techniques and methodical search protocols ensure the greatest amount of success, least amount of risk to personnel, and ensures the preservation of any evidence that may need to be collected in this case.
The two things that I would ask of our community at this time are; one, continue the prayers going out for Thomas Bryson’s safe return, and two, continue to pass along any information that may assist us in our investigation and search.

On Friday, deputies said they were continuing to piece together a timeline of the route Stroupe may have taken after the kidnapping

Deputies said the extensive search of the Mills River area, conducted by the Henderson County Rescue Squad, Henderson County Emergency Services, local and neighboring Fire Departments, and local and neighboring law enforcement involved multiple grid, K9, aerial, kayak and waterway searches but was unsuccessful.

On Friday, deputies said they were extending the scope into neighboring counties along the Blue Ridge Parkway corridor and into eastern Tennessee.

Henderson County Emergency Services announced it would be assisting the Henderson County Sheriff's Office with mobilization of search teams from partnering agencies to locate Mr. Bryson.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Henderson County Sheriff's Office or 911.

On Thursday, Bryson's daughter-in-law posted an emotional message about her children's response since his disappearance. She said her sons have been carrying around his picture and offered to donate their money to help the reward fund.

Up to $12,500 has been offered by Bryson's family and law enforcement for information leading to the location of Bryson.

An update on the progress of the search for Bryson is expected to come in a press briefing on Saturday at 11 a.m.

MORE - Sheriff: Manhunt suspect caught driving missing man's truck in McDowell County

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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