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NC doctor killed amid embezzlement investigation

ARDEN - Documents obtained Saturday by the Citizen-Times reveal new details in the case of a doctor found dead in his home on the night of July 16.

Police close off a scene of a crime.

ARDEN - Documents obtained Saturday by the Citizen-Times reveal new details in the case of a doctor found dead in his home on the night of July 16.

According to warrants and court documents, the victim and his wife were being investigated under charges of possible embezzlement and obtaining property by false pretense, and were served with a court order three days before the man died.

Buncombe County sheriff's deputies responded to the home on Tree Top Drive in Arden around 3:30 a.m. on July 16 after Frank Buddy McCutcheon Jr., 64, was reportedly found dead by his wife, Brenda. Her husband had been shot in their first-floor TV room after someone had broken into their home, Brenda McCutcheon said during a 911 call.

Police had yet to confirm whether the death was being investigated as a homicide. Warrants now classify the case as a murder investigation.

No charges have been filed, and no suspects have been named.

When deputies arrived at the scene that night, they found Frank McCutcheon dead on the couch, according to warrants. He had suffered a gunshot wound to his head, and no firearm was located near the body. The back door was open.

Brenda McCutcheon told deputies that her husband sometimes slept on the couch with the back door unlocked, warrants state.

After searching the scene, deputies located a handgun "believed to belong" to the couple. The gun was found outside the home on the ground in "some rows of ivy" between the McCutcheon's home and the neighbors', according to warrants.

Detectives John Ledford and Walt Thrower with the Buncombe County Sheriff's Office interviewed Brenda McCutcheon after their search, according to warrants. She denied shooting her husband or placing the handgun between the residences, warrants state.

Search warrants were requested to search the couple's residence, DNA from Brenda McCutcheon and the clothes she was wearing on July 16. Investigators seized various items including two pistols, a shotgun, a revolver, a rifle, and ammunition. A computer, cellphones, a couple hard drives, flash drives, various handwritten documents, rubber gloves, miscellaneous trash, bedding and clothes were also seized.

Detectives also filed warrants to search two storage units belonging to the couple on Sweeten Creek Road as well as the couple's medical practice. McCutcheon and his wife had owned and operated Cosmetic Surgery of Asheville, which has permanently closed due to Frank McCutcheon's death.

Frank McCutcheon’s primary area of practice was plastic and reconstructive surgery, according to the North Carolina Medical Board website. According to his practice website, the Arkansas native has been practicing for more than 30 years.

During a follow-up interview with Brenda McCutcheon, detectives learned that before her husband was found dead, the sheriff's office served the couple a court order asking to see records and documents pertaining to their medical practice concerning a criminal investigation that the state was conducting.

The North Carolina Department of Revenue met with the couple July 11 at their office, located at 131 McDowell, where they requested them to turn over any payroll reports as well as personal or business income tax returns, according to warrants.

On July 20, a detective spoke to an official with the N.C. Department of Revenue who confirmed the investigation. It was "in reference to possible embezzlement and obtaining property by false pretense violations concerning the Cosmetic Surgery of Asheville and Frank and Brenda McCutcheon," warrants state.

Detectives went to the medical building to obtain any business records and electronics but learned that the records were kept in two storage units. They also learned that Brenda McCutcheon had planned to shred 40 boxes of documents on July 27, warrants state.

Authorities believe items contained in these boxes "may contain information which could help identify suspect(s) involved in this crime and may help in establishing a timeline of events and/or motive," warrants state.

McCutcheon’s autopsy was competed on July 18 and his body was returned to Buncombe County, according to a medical examiner.

Services for McCutcheon will be held in Fayetteville, Arkansas at an unknown date and time, according to Groce Funeral Home. He is survived by his wife and several family members.

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