A car belonging to a U.S. Marine who allegedly deserted his post last month in North Carolina — and has been on the run since being accused of murdering his mother’s boyfriend in Virginia — has been located in South Carolina, authorities said Wednesday.
Michael Alexander Brown, 22, had been driving a black Lincoln Town Car, possibly with North Carolina plates, Charleston’s WCIV-TV reported, but it was unclear if that was the same vehicle authorities located. Details of how and where the vehicle was found and what condition it was in were also unclear.
Brown was a combat engineer in the Marines before allegedly deserting his post at Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C., on Oct. 18. Several agencies in North Carolina and Virginia — in addition to the U.S. Marshals, FBI, and Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) have been conducting a massive manhunt for the Marine in connection with the murder of 54-year-old Rodney Brown in Hardy, Va., on Saturday afternoon, Lynchburg, Va.’s WSET-TV reported.
The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office in Virginia on Monday issued an arrest warrant for second-degree murder and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony for the younger Brown. Deputies were dispatched to a home in Hardy, Va., around noon Saturday over reports that the homeowner was found dead on the property. Investigators later determined the victim was allegedly killed by his live-in girlfriend’s son, who was later identified as the Marine.
Authorities were still working to determine a motive. Neighbors told Roanoke, Va.’s WSLS-TV the Marine recently learned Rodney Brown was not his biological father. He reportedly believed his mother’s boyfriend was his biological father for his entire life.
The sheriff’s office said Sunday that Michael Brown’s last known address was near the victim’s — although it was not immediately clear if they lived in the same home — and he was likely driving a 1976 Cadillac. The office added that Brown “has been known to live in the woods and frequent National Parks and National Forest.” A later update said Brown ditched his car and might be in a 2008 Lincoln Town Car with North Carolina plates.
He is also considered “armed and dangerous.” Police said he is believed to be armed with a high-powered rifle and “may have access to other weapons.” No guns were missing from the unit’s armory, officials at Camp Lejeune said Monday, WSLS-TV reported.
His medals and decorations included the National Defense Service Medal, Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Sea Service Deployment Ribbon. His expected end of service date is July 2021.
The Marine Corps now lists Brown as an active-duty “deserter.” Brown deployed to Africa between March and October 2018, but Camp Lejeune was his lone duty station. His formal military training included Basic Combat Engineer, Marine Combat Training and Marine Recruit Training.
Fox News’ Paulina Dedaj contributed to this report.