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Suspect In Camper Deaths Nabbed

The man suspected of committing the murders of two campers from Charlotte, N.C., was arrested Wednesday evening.

Less than two full days after scouring the woods in Montgomery County, police officers arrested James Andrew Finley Jr., wanted for the weekend murders.

Finley is being sought in connection with the deaths of Derek Andrew Marston and Tommi Danielle Byrd, both 24 years old. They were found shot and slashed Sunday at their campsite in Linville Gorge Wilderness Area, 120 miles west of where Finley was arrested.

"We're tired and we're thankful," said Montgomery County Sheriff Jeff Jordan. "No one was hurt, and that's a big thing."

Apparently Finley, 21, of Hickory, tried to imitate the man he admired, Eric Rudolph, by eluding officals for as long as possible. He had watched with great interest the search for Rudolph, the suspected abortion clinic bomber who has eluded authorities for seven months in the rugged North Carolina mountains.

Unfortunately, Finley was not as lucky as the man he admired. He was caught in woods near his father's hunting camp, an area that agents had staked out since the beginning.

Police concentrated on looking for Finley in the central Uwharrie National Forest in Montogomery County, where Marston's car was found abandoned Tuesday.

Finley had tried to use one of the ATM cards belonging to one of the victims earlier in the week at a bank a few miles from the search area, according to authorities.

He left behind his wallet, which allowed searchers to pick up his scent. Once in the woods, he was spotted by several residents.

Finley was armed with a rifle and and a handgun when he was confronted by deputies, said FBI special agent Bart Burpeau.

Authorities fired a warning shot at Finley and he dropped his weapons and surrendered immediately, Burpeau said. Finley was taken to the Burke County jail late Wednesday. A court date has not been set.

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