HENRY COUNTY-Police believe they've located a missing Martinsville resident, but will have to wait for official confirmation. On Saturday afternoon, a body was discovered in a wooded area off of Barrows Mill Road and the Henry County Sheriff's Office was notified. Because the location was 1.5 miles from the residence of missing Martinsville resident Larry Hinchee, Martinsville police investigators were also notified.
The 54-year-old Hinchee left his job at Eastman Chemical between 1:10 to 1:30 a.m. March 24 after his shift had ended and then disappeared.
Investigators have determined that Hinchee made it home after his shift, as his car was parked in the driveway and the man’s wallet and cellphone were also left in the house. People in his neighborhood of Wren Court reported seeing Hinchee out walking up Glade Street about 2 a.m. March 24, but that was part of his routine.
The Martinsville man would frequently walk at night after getting off work. Since it was part of Hinchee’s regular routine, neighbors didn’t think anything of seeing him out until they learned he was missing.
Martinsville Deputy Police Chief Rob Fincher released a statement after 8 p.m. Saturday, saying that “the body is presumed to be that of missing person Larry Hinchee.”
Fincher added that Hinchee's family had been notified and that the body was taken to the medical examiner's office in Roanoke, so that the cause of death and official identification could be determined. Because the body was found in Henry County, the sheriff's office is leading that investigation. Fincher didn't say what made investigators believe the body to be that of the missing man.
Fincher added that more information will be released when it becomes available, but there would be no further comments Saturday from either the sheriff's office or the Martinsville Police Department.
The city's police department had expanded its search to find Hinchee in recent days. Deputies were out on searches Thursday and Friday. Also, the department called in help from several agencies that agreed to help in the case. Homeland Security, the Department of Veterans Affairs and NCIS all provided resources to help with the search. NCIS is the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, which is involved because Hinchee was a Navy Reservist.
Search teams rechecked areas previously gone over in recent days, to make sure nothing was missed. They also searched areas in Henry and Franklin counties, following up on leads.
As the investigation continues, Fincher asked that anyone with information regarding the case contact Lt. Sandy Hines of the Martinsville Police Department at (276)-403-5300 or call 911.