HARBORING A FUGITIVE Three people arrested for hiding kidnapping suspect

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Authorities in North Carolina announced Saturday that they had arrested three people accused of hiding a fugitive believed to have kidnapped a missing 68-year-old man.

Buncombe County Sheriff Van Duncan told local media that 40-year-old Jennifer Hawkins, 45-year-old Franklin Badgero Jr., and 23-year-old Larry Jay Hawkins are charged with harboring Phillip Stroupe II in Hawkins' Barnardsville home Wednesday night.

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(From left) Larry Hawkins, Jennifer Hawkins and Frederick Badgero were charged Saturday with harboring Stroupe during the search for him. (Buncombe County Sheriff's Office)

Stroupe was arrested Thursday after a manhunt that closed parts of the Pisgah National Forest for days. He faces drug, weapons and fleeing police charges in McDowell County, with more charges likely to be filed.

At the time of his arrest, Stroupe was driving a truck that belonged to Thomas Bryson, of Mills River. Investigators believe that Stroupe kidnapped Bryson Wednesday morning, and the search for the missing man is ongoing.

Bryson was last seen Wednesday morning on a surveillance camera driving away from his home to pick up a family member for a medical appointment. He never made it there.

The manhunt for Stroupe began last week, when he stole a mountain bike and pedaled into the Pigsah National Forest. He was fleeing deputies in Transylvania County who wanted him on a break-in charge.

Henderson County Sheriff Charles McDonald said Stroupe was in good shape and likely had been able to find food and water after he slipped into the woods.

Stroupe also had relatives near where he was arrested, including an aunt who was taken into custody after refusing to leave a law enforcement barricade, authorities said.

Stroupe was a "product of an enabling family and that's been a problem for us," McDonald said. He declined to give further details.

Stroupe had just been released from the Yancey County jail July 20 and has spent most of the past two decades behind bars, according to North Carolina prison records.

In 1999, Stroupe was sentenced to more than 18 years, the maximum allowed, for felony robbery with a deadly weapon and as well as breaking and entering and false imprisonment. He was released from prison in April 2015.

Last month, Stroupe was named as a suspect in the armed robbery of a store in Weaverville. A few days later, he was attempting to flee authorities when he rammed a stolen car into a Buncombe County sheriff's deputy's vehicle, authorities said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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