RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh police said a missing man investigation is now being treated as a homicide.
On Wednesday, Raleigh police said foul play is suspected in the disappearance of William “Andy” Banks.
Banks, 39, was last seen Saturday afternoon after his family said he was meeting someone in the K&W Cafeteria parking lot at Cameron Village about selling his 2011 Silver Range Rover Sport.
Banks’ Range Rover was located in Danville on Monday.
Justin Fernando Merritt, of Danville, Virginia was arrested Monday in relation to the disappearance of Banks.
Merritt was charged with robbery, larceny of motor vehicle, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon in connection with the stolen vehicle.
Merritt wasn’t served with those warrants until he was brought to Raleigh. The 34-year-old waived extradition early Tuesday.
Merritt appeared before Wake County Judge Ned Mangum on Wednesday. Banks’ family was in attendance for Merritt’s appearance.
Wake County Assistant District Attorney Patrick LaTour said Merritt has no ties to the Raleigh area and physical evidence linked Merritt to the Range Rover.
“The defendant has prior criminal convictions that I think are important and enlightening for the court when considering the defendant’s bond,” LaTour said.
LaTour asked Mangum to “substantially” increase Merritt’s bond.
Merritt has three previous felony convictions – including illegal use of a firearm and burglary.
There is zero evidence of criminal conduct by Banks, LaTour said.
Merritt said he intends on hiring his own lawyer.
Mangum raised Merritt’s bond from $265,000 to $2 million.
He is scheduled to appear in court again Oct. 7 at 9 a.m.
While Banks’ disappearance is now a homicide investigation – no additional charges have been filed in the case.
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