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Charges filed in abduction of Hagerstown man

June 11, 1998|By MARLO BARNHART

A Pennsylvania man faces charges that he and others abducted a Hagerstown man last week, cut his throat and left him for dead in North Carolina.

Matthew Ross Himelright, 20, of Stroudsburg, Pa., was in jail in Pennsylvania on Thursday, according to Investigator Chris Weaver of the Washington County Sheriff's Department.

Local warrants charge Himelright with attempted first- and second-degree murder, first- and second-degree assault, carjacking, felony theft, kidnapping and reckless endangerment, Weaver said.

Interviews with Himelright and others in Pennsylvania led Weaver to lodge the charges. He wouldn't say if others might be charged.

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Local authorities began working with police in North Carolina on June 2, trying to learn more about Philip James Bean's claim he was abducted from Hagerstown on May 31 and left for dead nearly 450 miles away.

Bean, 23, was treated for injuries in Asheville, N.C., and released the next day, according to Buncombe County sheriff's deputies.

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

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

That woman was described as white, 5 feet 7 to 5 feet 9 inches tall, 150 pounds, sandy hair and a tattoo of a fish on her stomach or hip. She may live downtown.

As Bean and the two women drove around Hagerstown, two men were picked up and the five were riding around in Bean's car when the passengers asked him to drive them to Florida, Weaver said.

When he refused, they jumped him, police believe.

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.

A parole officer called Hagerstown police June 1 to notify them of the incident.

The parole officer, with whom Bean was to have met that day, said Bean called and told her the story.

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