Body Recovered From Neuse River Not Missing Cole Thomas

Benson Police detectives accompanies Smithfield police investigators on Thursday at the NC Medical Examiner’s Office for an autopsy on a body pulled from the Neuse River in Smithfield on Tuesday.

While the remains have still not been identified, Benson Police Captain Greg Percy confirmed Friday they are not that of missing Cole Thomas who was last seen in November 2016 in Downtown Benson.

The body was recovered from debris that had lodged against the bridge on US 301 South over the Neuse River.

Smithfield Police Captain R. Sheppard said the preliminary autopsy showed the body was a white male, about 5 foot 3, with a black and red tattoo on the upper right side of the arm. The tattoo was possibly a “Tribal design.”

The medical examiner said the death did not appear to be the result of heavy rains earlier in the week.  Police are reviewing missing persons cases with other agencies but so far don’t have any clue as to the victim’s identity or more specifically how he died.

“This case remains open and active,” Captain Sheppard said.

Anyone with any information about the individual is asked to contact the Smithfield Police Department Tip Line at 919-989-8835. To speak directly with an investigator call 919-934-2121.