DOBSON — No arrest has been made in the murder of a Lowgap man whose body was found covered by cement in a shallow grave last week.
Surry County Sheriff Graham Atkinson said Tuesday that investigators are continuing to sift through facts in an effort to pinpoint the killer of Charles Daniel “Chuck” Smith.
“It’s on pace,” Atkinson said of the progress of that probe despite no charges having been filed so far, but added that a rapid resolution of the case might be unrealistic. “It’s just going to be a slow and deliberate process,” the sheriff said.
The remains of Smith, who lived at 246 Eagles Nest Trail in Lowgap, were found one week ago buried inside a metal building near a mobile home at 104 River Rat Lane, also in the Lowgap area.
An autopsy the next day positively identified the remains as those of Smith, who had been reported missing by his mother on April 26, Atkinson has said, and the cause of death as a gunshot wound.
It has since been revealed that Smith was killed in October. “That’s probably as close as we’re going to pin it down,” Atkinson said Tuesday regarding the exact date of the murder, noting that the October time frame relates to the last time Smith, then 36, was seen alive.
Smith’s body was concealed at the location on River Rat Lane, and covered by cement, where it remained until being unearthed last week after authorities obtained a search warrant for the premises. Investigators have not said what led authorities to that particular site, or how they established probable cause to conduct the search.
The unearthing of the body required a painstaking process. It was undertaken with the help of crime-scene personnel with the State Bureau of Investigation, a medical examiner and equipment provided by a local volunteer fire department and an equipment business.
Since the remains were recovered and identified last week, the emphasis has turned to trying to determine who killed Smith.
One rumor has surfaced that a possible suspect could be someone who died in the months after the body was buried.
“I’ve heard that, too,” the sheriff said Tuesday, when he generally was tight-lipped about the particulars of the case, explaining, “we’re in the middle of a murder investigation.”
While such crimes might not be solved as fast as some might want, detectives with the Surry Sheriff’s Office are actively engaged in seeking the man’s killer, Atkinson assured. “They’re still working it,” he said, though acknowledging that nothing new had turned up since last week regarding the investigation.
Yet the sheriff is confident that detectives are “going to be able to bring it to a resolution,” he said of the murder case.
“And we need to make sure we get all the facts and come to the right conclusion.”
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-719-1924 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.