A man last seen on January 14 was found a week later, and the Virginia State Police are now investigating the incident that may have caused his death.
The remains of Charles Edward Martin Jr., 56, of Shingle Shop Road, Stuart, were found Saturday, Jan. 21, according to Patrick County Sheriff Dan Smith and the state police.
Martin had not been seen or heard from since around 4 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14. He and his 2005 Champagne Ford Explorer were reported missing by family members on January 16, Smith has said.
On Saturday, in advance of an aerial search by the state police, Trooper R.S. Lawson was searching for Martin in the area of Salem Highway, near Five Forks Road, when he noticed some ground disturbance off the road and into a wooded area, Smith said.
Lawson exited his patrol vehicle and began to search on foot. His search led him to an embankment that was not visible from the road. When Lawson looked over the embankment, he found Martin’s 2005 Ford Explorer overturned into thick brush.
A preliminary investigation indicates that Martin’s vehicle was traveling northbound on Salem Highway when it left the roadway and overturned down the embankment, Smith said.
A release from the state police added a passer-by discovered the vehicle over an embankment, about 100 feet south of Virginia 660. The Ford Explorer ran off the right side of the roadway and struck several trees, according to the release.
The release stated the single-vehicle crash occurred on January 14 at 8:23 a.m. on Virginia 8.
Martin was wearing his seatbelt and died at the scene.
Smith said extensive searches were conducted throughout most of last week, with assistance from volunteers such as the Patrick County Patriots, as well as state, regional and local authorities. Searches were conducted on the ground along roadways and Smith said Richard Landis, a member of the Patriots who also is a pilot, flew local authorities to conduct aerial searches.
Phone records then were received, and the results “triangulated between the towers. That is as close as we could get” to Martin’s location,” Smith said adding that results from Martin’s cellphone encompassed a 120-mile area, “which is basically one-fourth of Patrick County.”
After that information was received, search efforts focused on the southern portion of Patrick County and the northern portion of Stokes County, N.C., Smith said.
Martin, known as “Junior,” to many friends and family, was an employee of Stuart Forest Products.
The cause of death is unknown at this time. His remains were transported to the Virginia Medical Examiner’s Office for the Western District to determine the cause of death.
Smith said he does not know when preliminary autopsy results will be available.