Missing person? Police investigate empty wheelchair found by river

- Belmont police are trying to solve a big mystery after an empty wheelchair with fishing rods and reels was found near the edge of the Catawba River.

So far, there have been no reports of anyone missing but police are currently canvassing the area, talking to people who frequent the Catawba River to try to figure out who the wheelchair might belong to. 

It sat vacant for several hours near the edge of the water Sunday.

When we drove up, there was a police car blocking the entrance," said Fisherman Wallace Hardy. "And they wouldn't let people go into the dock.  From the gate, you could see an empty wheelchair on the dock and there was a lot of activity, police running around the dock."

Concerns grew amongst fellow fishermen as the wheelchair sat empty with rods and reels by the edge of the water.

"I came down here to walk and check the place out and I parked behind the wheelchair," said Witness Harold Benfield. “And there was no occupant in it and three rods and reels and a tackle-box and a wheelchair-- and no one around."

Boaters noticed the empty wheelchair had been there for several hours, at least since 7 a.m. 

"And no one had seen anyone or knew who it belonged to," said Benfield.

By the afternoon, a boater notified Belmont Police and Charlotte Fire and a search ensued.

"I'm concerned," said Benfield. "I hope they're safe, I hope a grandson or granddaughter picked them up and I hope that person is fine and doing well."

If you know anything, call Belmont Police.

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