UPDATE: 4 charged in Burke County kidnapping, man still missing

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Four people have been arrested and charged with kidnapping a Valdese man who is still missing, according to the Burke County Sheriff’s Office.

On Friday, Jan. 19, the Burke County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by the Valdese Police Department to report a missing man, Carlton Lamar Edmondson.

Valdese Police said Edmondson’s family went to police saying they had received phone calls from an unknown person stating Edmondson had been kidnapped. The caller was demanding money for the return of Edmondson.

Investigators followed a trail from Burke County to Boone, and then to Johnson County, TN.  Investigators were able to determine that 31-year-old Robert Leroy Littleton, III was a suspect in the case. Littleton was found in Mountain City, TN.  After an interview, he was arrested for the kidnapping of Edmondson in Burke County.

Throughout the course of the interview, investigators determined that Edmondson had been taken to a remote location, assaulted, and left there. He still has not been found.

Littleton is charged with first degree kidnapping and being a fugitive from justice in the state of NC. He is not being held under any bond pending his extradition to North Carolina. His first court date is set for Feb. 7.

LeighKatherine Mina was also arrested in Watauga County on Tuesday, Jan. 23 for felonious first degree kidnapping. 

Mina is being held in the Burke-Catawba District Confinement Center under a $200,000 bond. Her first appearance was set for January 24, 2018 at 9:00 a.m.

Mina says she recently married Littleton but has no documentation to verify the claim.

The Wautuga County Sheriff's department confirmed Sunday that James Parker Combs was also arrested and charged with conspiracy to commit especially aggravated kidnapping. 

The search for Edmondson is continuing in Johnson County, TN. He is a 30 year old black man, 5’09”, approximately 250 lbs. with black hair and brown eyes.

Anyone who may have information regarding Edmondson's whereabouts should contact the Burke County Sheriff’s Office at 828-438-5500 or Morganton/Burke Crimestoppers at 828-437-3333. You can also contact the Johnson County Sheriff’s Department at 432-727-7761.