SBI: Missing man’s remains found, bringing end to 24-year-old cold case

SBI: Missing man’s remains found, bringing end to 24-year-old cold case

BRUNSWICK COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) - State and local investigators have discovered skeletal remains that are believed to be that of a missing Boiling Spring Lakes man, bringing an end to a 24-year-old cold case.

According to a news release, agents with the State Bureau of Investigation and Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department located the remains of Timothy James Smart, buried in a wooded area off West Boiling Spring Road on Monday.

Bryan Lee O'Daniels
Bryan Lee O'Daniels (Source: Brunswick County Sheriff's Office)

The state medical examiner will confirm the identity of the remains and cause of death.

Bryan Lee O’Daniels, 45, of Wilmington, was arrested on July 1 and is charged with Smart’s murder.

The Boiling Spring Lakes Police Department reached out to local media in May 2018 to run an update on the cold case of Smart who had been missing since July 15, 1995. After the story aired, an anonymous tip led detectives to classify the case as a homicide.

Investigators from several agencies did extensive follow-up work on leads which resulted in the arrest of O’Daniels.

Months of questioning witnesses led investigators to where they believe Smart’s remains were buried.

“Sometimes the wheels of justice turn slowly. This case is an example of what happens when agencies utilize all of their resources to collaborate. Everyone who’s worked on this case, past and present, is thankful to be able to bring closure to Tim’s family and friends after all these years,” said Kellie Hodges, SBI Assistant Special Agent in Charge.

O’Daniels remains in the Brunswick County Detention Center under a $850,000 bond.

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