The Great Smoky Mountain Journal

Staff Reports

Posted: Monday, January 01, 2018 12:43 PM

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Missing Western NC Man Was In East TN; Family Offering Reward For Info On Whereabouts

A Western North Carolina man's family has asked for the public's help in bringing him home after he reportedly went missing from his home in Mills River Wednesday morning, CBS affiliate WSPA reports.

Deputies said Thomas "Tommy" Bryson went missing in the same area where Phillip Stroupe II was spotted a day earlier. Stroupe was arrested early Thursday morning in McDowell County after six days of a statewide manhunt.

On Thursday morning, Stroupe was spotted driving Bryson's Honda Ridgeline. Deputies said Stroupe ran before he was taken into custody.

The sheriff said a firearm was found near where Bryson's vehicle was abandoned, but there was no sign of Bryson.

Bryson's sons said he was on his way to pick up his sister for a doctor's appointment Wednesday morning, and deputies said they believe Bryson came across Stroupe pretty close to his driveway in Mills River.

Bryson is 68 years old and described as 5'9" weighing 175 pounds with a gray mustache and hair. He was last seen wearing a plaid, dark-colored shirt, brown cargo shorts and tennis shoes.

Deputies said they believe Stroupe may have traveled into East Tennessee before he was captured. The Henderson County Sheriff's Office released a statement detailing Bryson's possible location in East Tennessee.

Bryson's sons said they immediately thought the worst when they were notified their father was missing because he is in great health and very punctual; however, they still weren't sure if his disappearance was connected to Stroupe.

Law enforcement agencies are offering a $2,500 reward for any credible evidence that leads to Bryson's return, and Bryson's family is offering a $10,000 reward. If anyone has any information they can call 828-697-4911.