The body of Chad McKinley Watt, 22, was found Saturday under a log in Alexander County near the boyhood home of Charles Wesley Roache, 25, who is being held without bond for five counts of first-degree murder.
Both Roache and a second man wanted in connection with the family slayings are suspected in the Watt slaying as well, Alexander County Sheriff Ray Warren said Sunday. The other suspect, identified as Christopher Wayne Lippard, 20, was still at large Monday.
Investigators believe Roache and Lippard shot Watt before they killed the Earl Phillips family Thursday night while ditching a stolen truck and trying to take two of the family's vehicles.
Watt died of a shotgun wound to the head, investigators said. A shotgun was also believed to have been used in the Phillips killings.
Warren said investigators believe Watt, Lippard and Roache gathered at a convenience store sometime Tuesday, then left in Watt's vehicle. A fight broke out after the vehicle broke down, and Roache shot and killed Watt, Warren said.
No charges have been filed in the Alexander County case, but Warren said he plans to discuss possible charges against Roache with prosecutors.
Detectives began searching for the body Friday after Roache was questioned in the Phillips case.
Haywood County Sheriff Tom Alexander said at a news conference today that Lippard apparently headed east after the slayings. He was in custody on an alcohol-related charge in Hickory for a few hours Friday, but was released before authorities linked him to the family slayings, authorities said.
A funeral was scheduled for today for Earl Phillips, 72, and his wife, Cora, 73. A second service was planned for the couple's son Eddie, 40; daughter-in-law, Mitzi, 44; and 14-year-old granddaughter, Katie.
More than 600 people attended a visitation service Sunday evening in Waynesville.
Roache was captured at gunpoint early Friday by Jim Fowler, a neighbor of the Phillipses who found Roache hiding under a camper top.
"I held him in the ditch until the law got here," he said. "I was more angry than anything. ... I didn't want him to get away."