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Police in Hagerstown, N.C. probe abduction case

June 03, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

Hagerstown City Police were working with authorities in North Carolina, Tuesday, trying to learn more about a Hagerstown man's claim he was abducted here Sunday and left for dead nearly 450 miles away.

Phillip James Bean, 23, was treated for injuries in Asheville, N.C., and released Monday, according to Buncombe County sheriff's deputies.

Bean was found near the town of Arden around 10 a.m. Monday, bound with bungee cord, a shirt over his head and bleeding from his neck, according to Buncombe County Sheriff Bobby Medford.

Detective George Sprinkle said Tuesday he doubts that Bean made up the story since "he didn't tie himself up."

"I'm pretty much believing his story but whether it's tied to any kind of dope deal gone bad, I don't know," Sprinkle told The Associated Press.

Hagerstown City Police Detective Wayne Shank said he's been working with Sprinkle and others over the telephone, trying to determine jurisdiction in the case.

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Bean told deputies in North Carolina that he gave a ride to two women Sunday night, knowing only that one of them was named Michelle.

As they drove around Hagerstown, Medford said, two men were picked up and the five were riding around in Bean's 1984 red Chevrolet Camaro, Md. tags EAW 037, when the passengers jumped him in Smithsburg.

He said he was bound, his throat was slit and he was put into the trunk of the car, which ended up in the mountains of North Carolina near the French Broad River.

"We believe he picked up the first person in Hagerstown but after that, he's not sure where he was," Shank said.

The first Hagerstown police knew of the incident was when a parole officer called Sgt. Ronald Graves Monday night.

That parole officer said Bean called her and told her the story, since she was supposed to have met with Bean Monday.

A check of Washington County Circuit Court records showed Bean's criminal background includes convictions for assault, battery, several breakins, thefts, burglaries and destruction of property.

It wasn't known which case was the subject of Monday's parole meeting but he is scheduled for a modification hearing in Washington County Circuit Court on June 9.

Sprinkle said Bean's mother and stepfather brought him back to Hagerstown Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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