The flatbed truck that Steven Dale Branscome may or may not have swiped in Indian Valley has been found in Statesville, North Carolina, about 40 miles North of Charlotte.
If Branscome took the truck, that means he was out of state while hundreds of assault-weapon brandishing "special weapons and tactics" officers clad in fatiques, body armor and God knows what else swooped into Floyd County for a weeklong manhunt that has produced nothing but bewilderment and concern from local residents. He could be sitting in a sports car in Charlotte laughing at the massive manhunt for him 135 miles away in another state.
The truck, owned by one of timber mogul Mike Turman’s operations, turned up missing in Indian Valley before the show of force and multiple roadblocks sprouted up like weeds after a Spring shower.
Meanwhile, the Virginia State Police issued this press release:
State, local and federal law enforcement have followed up close to 100 leads since Tuesday, April 1, 2008, regarding the whereabouts of the Southwest Virginia man wanted for shooting a Virginia State Police trooper last Friday, March 28, 2008. Steven Dale Branscome, 32, with a last-known address in Barren Springs, Va., is believed to have stolen another vehicle.
"For Steven Branscome to have been able to elude authorities this long, we are fairly sure that he has received help along the way," said Colonel W. Steven Flaherty, Virginia State Police Superintendent. "We are hopeful that this can come to a peaceful end with no one, including Branscome, being hurt. All we want is a swift and safe resolution to this search."
Anyone caught aiding or harboring Branscome could face such charges as obstruction of justice and/or being an accessory to his felonies.
State police troopers, special agents, canine teams, tactical teams and aviation crews have spent the week following up leads and information in an attempt to locate and apprehend Branscome. The Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Marshal’s Service and multiple police departments from around the region have been actively pursuing leads and aiding in the search, as well. Authorities will continue their efforts through the weekend.
Steven Dale Branscome is still on the lam and the imported posse of Virginia State Troopers and 15 other police agencies still can’t find him. They are looking for a flatbed truck that has been missing from Indian Valley since the weekend, which means he might be several states away by now (although the local pool is that he is hiding with relatives somewhere in the county).