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Murder suspect arrested in Avery County after high speed chase from Tennessee

Last Updated on March 4, 2022 8:53 am

A man was arrested in Avery County after leading officers on a high speed chase that began in neighboring Tennessee.

On Wednesday night, the Carter County Tennessee Sheriff's Office requested assistance from the Avery County Sheriff’s Office regarding a chase on US 19E just before 8:15 pm. The driver was wanted for questioning in a homicide case, according to a press release.

Avery Deputies intercepted the chase at the North Carolina/Tennessee state line, and used spike strips to deflate the vehicle's tires. The chase continued to Blevins Creek Road, where the suspect wrecked and then ran into the woods.

Avery County Special Response team with a K-9, along with several other agencies, responded and found the suspect about a quarter of a mile away from the vehicle.

Jacob Morley, 23-years-old, of Elizabethton Tennessee was transported to the Avery County Jail and charged with Felony Speeding to Allude Arrest with a hold for extradition to Tennessee.

“No one was hurt during the incident because of the flawless work between both Sheriff's Office, several police departments, the North Carolina Highway Patrol, the Elk Park and Newland Fire Departments, the Avery County Fire Marshall and Avery Dispatch.” stated incident commander Sgt Shawn Turbyfill. “We were able to apprehend the suspect without incident.” he also added.

Chief Deputy Lee Buchanan also stated that all deputies who were there performed outstanding, but the deputies who deserve the most credit for this incredible operation are Sgt Shawn Turbyfill, who was over the entire operation, and Deputy Casey Lee and Kilo who tracked the suspect though the woods. Both deputies done a extraordinary job, he also stated.

Morley will be charged with the murder of Cody Wayne Birchfield, according to the Carter County Sheriff's Office He also faces charges for abuse of a corpse, aggravated burglary, felony evading arrest, reckless endangerment, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and additional charges from the Avery County Sheriff’s Office.

Birchfield was reported missing by a family member on February 23. According to witnesses, Birchfield had last been seen with Morley on February 21. Investigators then discovered several pieces of evidence that showed Birchfield had been with Morley shortly before disappearing. With the permission of the property owner, investigators and Tennessee Bureau of Investigation agents searched Birchfield’s residence and found indications that a violent crime had occurred.

CCSO investigators then obtained search warrants for Morley’s residence and vehicle, and deputies were directed to stake out his home. On Wednesday evening, deputies saw Morley’s vehicle and attempted to conduct a traffic stop. Morley began attempting to evade them at a high rate of speed.

Investigators were able to execute a search warrant for Morley’s residence, and found Birchfield’s body inside. The body was taken to the ETSU Quillen College of Medicine for autopsy.

Morley is being held in the Avery County Detention Center with a hold for extradition to Tennessee.

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