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OXFORD — A trio of suspects Saturday lured a man to a meeting place, beat and robbed him, bound him in tape and kidnapped him, and then drove him to Oxford where they threw him off a bridge, authorities said.
But the victim, Shawn Anthony Noble, 49, survived the incident and crawled his way back to the road, where he flagged down a motorist and called for help. Noble was taken to a hospital but has since been released.
Multiple agencies are now investigating the crimes, and two of the suspects have been charged with attempted murder.
The incident happened early Saturday morning, when Noble traveled to the Mebane home of Brittney Lynne Darnell, whom he had been talking to online, according to the Alamance County Sheriff's Office.
When he arrived at the home in the 600 block of Trollingwood Hawfields Road, two men approached him and beat him with a metal baseball bat and a tire iron, the sheriff's office said.
A press release identified those men as Samuel Micah Murrell, 29, and David Steele Richardson, 26. The release said Noble was not acquainted with any of the suspects.
Arrest warrants claim those men stole $2,000 from Noble, as well as an iPhone, Apple iWatch, and Noble's 2018 Mercedes Benz SUV, worth an estimated $70,000.
Deputies said the suspects then bound Noble in tape and kidnapped him, placing him in his own car as they drove him to Tabbs Creek bridge on N.C. Highway 158 near Oxford. That's where they threw him off the bridge, into the creek below, and left him to die, the sheriff's office said.
"Little did they know he actually survived and he got help," said Byron Tucker, Alamance County Sheriff's Office public information officer.
According to Granville County Sheriff Brindell Wilkins Jr., the bridge was 23 feet tall.
"In my opinion they left him for dead, and that didn't happen," Wilkins said.
Noble crawled to the road and got help. The sheriff's office was called around 7:15 a.m.
Noble was taken to Duke University Hospital in Durham, where he was treated for head and chest injuries, according to a Granville County Sheriff's Office release. He was released Sunday.
The Henderson Police Department located and arrested Darnell and Murrell on Sunday. Richardson turned himself into the Franklin County Sheriff's Office on Monday.
Murrell, whose address is the same as Darnell's, was charged with felony counts of first-degree kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and larceny of a motor vehicle in Alamance County, as well as felony conspiracy and attempted first-degree murder by the Granville County Sheriff's Office.
Richardson, of N.C. Highway 98 in Bunn, is facing the same charges as Murrell.
Darnell, 29, was charged with felony counts of first-degree kidnapping, robbery with a dangerous weapon, assault with a deadly weapon with intent to kill inflicting serious injury and larceny of a motor vehicle in Alamance County.
Darnell and Murrell were held at the Alamance County Detention Center under $1 million secured bonds. Richardson was in custody at the Granville County Detention Center under no bond.