William ‘Andy’ Banks, 39, was last seen around 2pm in the Cameron Village area of Raleigh on Saturday, September 12th. He was supposed to be meeting a potential buyer for his 2011 Range Rover but hasn’t been seen since.
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According to his family, Andy was heading to the K&W Cafeteria parking lot in Cameron Village Saturday afternoon to meet someone about selling his 2011 silver Range Rover.
A 911 call was released Monday afternoon and said that after Banks planned to sell his Range Rover he planned to walk to the corner of St. Mary’s Street and Wade Avenue where his newer car, a BMW, was parked. It is unclear if his BMW is still parked there but police have not said they are looking for it.
“I can see on his text messages that he last checked his phone at 1:42 p.m.,” the caller said. “He has not looked at his phone since then. His battery is on and it’s ringing and all that.”
Banks’s Range Rover was spotted around 8:30pm Monday and his cell phone was found on North Carolina interstate 440 near exit 287 heading west from Raleigh toward Danville.
“He met two people from Craigslist to try and sell his car,” friend Amanda Finch told the Star-Tribune Monday morning. “He hasn’t been seen or heard from since.”
“We have friends that are tech people,” Finch said. “They were able to look through Andy’s messages through a cloud on his laptop that was at home. They were able to find out that the phone number they were using to text Andy was a burner phone.”
The burner phone last pinged in the Danville area. Danville police confirmed that DPD is assisting the Raleigh police department in “any manner possible.”
Danville is approximately an hour and a half from Cameron Village.
“The leads [that] were given to us from RPD have been followed up on and without locating Banks,” Danville police Lt. Paul Deel said.
Monday afternoon it was announced that the silver Range Rover in connection with Banks’s disappearance has been found in Danville, Virginia. Banks was not in it and is still missing.
Banks’s venmo account shows two recent payments made to him.
Banks is blond and 6 feet tall, last seen wearing blue Patagonia shorts, a gray shirt with a picture of a mountain on the front and flip flops.
Tuesday morning, Sept. 15th, an arrest was announced, Justin Fernando Merritt of Danville, Virginia was taken into custody in connection with the disappearance of William “Andy” Banks.
Merritt faces charges of robbery, larceny of motor vehicle and possession of a firearm by convicted felon in connection with the stolen vehicle.
Merritt was extradited to Raleigh on Wednesday morning. Newly released warrants said Merritt used a gun to threaten Banks and steal his SUV.
By Wednesday morning, Merritt had been moved to Wake County Detention Center and appeared before a judge later in the afternoon.
In court Merritt heard the charges he’s facing: Larceny of a motor vehicle, which carries up to 39 months. Robbery with a dangerous weapon, which carries up to 204 months. He was also charged with possession of a firearm by a felon, which carries up to 47 months. He is being held on a $2 million secured bond.
Raleigh Police department also stated they suspect foul play and are now treating Andy’s disappearance as a homicide.
According to one warrant: “The defendant committed [the car theft] by means of an assault consisting of having in possession and threatening the use of a firearm … whereby the life of William Anderson Banks Jr. was threatened and endangered.”
One warrant notes that Merritt was previously convicted of a felony burglary in 2013 and sentenced to 10 years.
Thursday, Sept. 17th, the suspected remains of 39-year-old Raleigh man William “Andy” Banks were found by investigators on Beechnut Road in rural Chatham, VA.
“It was Raleigh detectives who came up to our door, walking our farm,” local resident Hollie Adams told the Star-Tribune. “They said they were looking for him and asked if we saw his 2011 Range Rover on Saturday.”
Adams reported seeing 30 Raleigh police units around her Beechnut Road property this morning.
“They said they would bring cadaver dogs by later when it stopped raining,” Adams continued. “But then they came by and said, ‘Just wanted to let you know we found him, thank you.'”
Investigators reportedly used go-location to triangulate a cell phone involved in this case, and it pinged for 20 minutes around Adams’s property.
The body has been sent to the medical examiner for an official identification.
Justin Fernando Merritt was also charged with murder on Thursday. He will likely face a Wake County judge Friday.
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