ALBEMARLE, N.C. -- The man who said he found 27-year-old Jason Burleson murdered, tied up and duct-taped in a Stanly County home claimed Burleson's house was ransacked and that it appeared Burleson suffocated from his restraints.
Jeremy Shaver, 17, and Tracey Henderson, 19, said they went to Burleson's house Sunday night because they hadn't heard from him in a couple days and he didn't return any phone calls.
Henderson drove the two to Burleson's house. She said it is her car investigators went through, but that she was just the driver and friend who did the welfare check.
"It was ransacked. Everything was pulled out -- the closets, couch, cushions flipped up -- obvious someone had been in there looking for something," Shaver said about what she saw upon entering the house.
They saw Burleson's lighter and tennis shoes and figured he must still be in the house. They also thought someone might have kidnapped him considering the way the house looked.
They then went into the basement and found Burleson dead, tied to a chair, with his mouth and nose duct-taped.
"I didn't really want to look. Didn't take that much of a glance at him. Didn't want to," Shaver said. "He suffocated."
Shaver called 911. The operator asked him to check Burleson's pulse, but he was already dead.
Shaver said it's strange that another one of Burleson's acquaintances -- Tony Cunningham -- was run over, robbed and killed the same weekend in the Albemarle area.
Shaver thinks the two crimes are somehow connected, but police have not confirmed that.
"Just a gut feeling," he said.
For now, police aren't saying much because Burleson's murder remains an active investigation.
Stanly County Crime Stoppers is offering a reward of up to $1000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for Burleson's murder.