The Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office confirmed late Thursday that a body recovered from a local river late this week was that of a missing Lincolnton man.
Gaston County police and search and rescue teams assisted Lincoln County deputies in scouring the South Fork River Thursday afternoon for Keith Roland Boyte, 37, of 1069 Clemmay Trail.
Sheriff’s Lt. Tim Johnson, head of Criminal Investigations, told the Times-News late Thursday night that the recovered body was in fact Boyte’s. The victim was located at a water shoot near the river’s damn, Johnson said.
He noted that, more than likely, the body had been in the river for at least a day. Witnesses in the area told deputies they thought they spotted a man near the waterway between 6:30 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. Wednesday.
Deputies speculated that Boyte may have drowned after going into the water to search for something, but they remain unclear as to exactly what he was doing.
Deputies said they located the man’s work truck Wednesday night near the South Fork River Bridge on U.S. 321 near the Gaston/Lincoln County line.
According to a department press release, he had been missing for a couple days.
Scott Grant, a friend of Boyte’s, reported the incident to deputies around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday. The release said Grant grew concerned about Boyte after calling and getting no response from his friend’s phone two days in a row. Boyte’s wife also told the Sheriff’s Office that she hadn’t talked to her husband since Monday afternoon.
Deputies said they first scoured but failed to find the missing man at area hospitals and law enforcement centers.
Boyte reportedly told friends and family he was traveling to Cleveland County to work on a rental property.
After the truck was located, the scene was officially handed over to Gaston County authorities.
Boyte’s body has since been sent to the Mecklenburg County medical examiner for an autopsy.