STATESVILLE, N.C. -- Thursday afternoon, long time friends of Lindsey Stikeleather visited the remote area where deputies recovered the 88-year-old's body just after midnight.
"I just can't believe it," said Jim Wooten.
Authorities were lead to a wooded area along Highway 70 and Eufola Road, near Lynn's Lane in Statesville after hours of interviewing potential suspects. The location was just two miles from where Stikeleather's white 1990 Jeep Comache pickup had been abandoned and found Wednesday.
"I have never known him to be in any trouble in his life. I've known him for many years, he was a good fella," said Wooten.
Deputies arrested 45-year-old Bobbie Joe Jackson at a nearby motel around 4 a.m. He remains in jail without bond and has been charged with kidnapping, robbery and murder.
Major Darren Campbell said all evidence leads them to believe Jackson's actions were premeditated. A motive beyond robbery has yet to be explained since family members said Stikeleather has shown the suspect kindness and generosity.
"Mr. Stikeleather would have done anything for anybody and I think this individual was preyed upon."
Authorities said Stikeleather left his home Monday afternoon after getting a call from Jackson. He asked for help repairing his broken scooter. They agreed to meet at a bank on West Front Street. Surveillance video shows Stikeleather withdrew money alone.
Campbell said Jackson was nearby and that the two had been in communication prior to their meeting. Jackson lead Stikeleather to believe he had wanted to settle some of his debts and repay part of the year's worth of back-rent.
"This is a heinous act, and to be targeted like this, a good person that he was, this is tragic," said Campbell.
Anyone with information in the case is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 704-878-3100.