Foul play suspected in disappearance of a Raleigh man

Missing Raleigh Man
Missing Raleigh Man(WRAL)
Published: Sep. 17, 2020 at 12:24 AM EDT
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RALEIGH, N.C. (WITN) - Police said Wednesday that they suspect foul play in the disappearance of a Raleigh man, and they are investigating the case as a homicide.

Police believe 34-year-old Justin Merritt may have met up with 39-year-old Andy Banks on Saturday to purchase an SUV Banks posted on Craigslist. No one has heard from Banks since Saturday afternoon and after not hearing from him for several hours, his family called 911 Saturday night to report him missing.

His cellphone was found along Interstate 40 in Raleigh on Sunday, and investigators determined the buyer’s phone was in Danville, Va. Police found Banks' SUV under a tarp in Danville, Virginia Monday. Investigators say they found the silver 2011 Range Rover Sport just a few doors from where Justin Meritt lives.

He was arrested Tuesday and charged with robbery with a dangerous weapon, larceny of a motor vehicle, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with the stolen vehicle.

Merritt was returned to Wake County on Wednesday. During an initial court appearance, the judge raised his bond from $265,000 to $2 million.

Andy Bank’s father and brother were in the courtroom Wednesday for Merritt’s hearing. Andy Banks is 6 feet tall and last seen wearing blue Patagonia shorts, a gray shirt with a picture of a mountain on the front, and flip flops.

Anyone with information should call the Raleigh Police Department at 919-996-3335.

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