Deputies said they have located and retrieved a truck belonging to a woman officers located Friday morning lying along a county highway.
Sherry Jo Tobeler, of 6674 Billy’s Way in Denver, has since been pronounced dead.
Sheriff David Carpenter said the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office is now investigating the incident as a homicide.
Major Lee Caskey noted it was the agency’s second one this year.
The victim was located around 3 a.m. on N.C. 150, near Mack Ballard Road, deputies said.
She told officers she had been driving a silver Chevrolet Silverado pickup earlier that morning.
Deputies located the truck around 12:15 p.m. Monday in a pond on Gladden Road, off Springs East Road, north of Lincolnton.
Carpenter said a person of interest in the case led officers to the site.
Deputy John Isaacs dove into the water to attach a cable from a truck with Hampton’s Wrecker Service to the victim’s vehicle.
The Silverado was hoisted out of the pond by 2:40 p.m.
Detectives have interviewed three persons of interest in the case, a male and two females, Carpenter said.
Tobeler met the individuals sometime between 9 p.m. Thursday, when her husband told deputies she left their residence following an argument, and 3 a.m. Friday, when she was located on N.C. 150, the Sheriff’s Office said.
Prior to being left on the roadway, the victim engaged in some sort of argument with the individuals inside the truck, Carpenter revealed.
The man then took control of the vehicle, using it to strike Tobeler before leaving the scene with the other two women, Carpenter said.
However, Carpenter was not sure, at the time, exactly how Tobeler ended up outside the vehicle —whether she got out herself or was pushed out.
The persons of interest later dumped the truck in the pond, deputies said.
At the scene Friday, Tobeler gave officers differing details on how she ended up on
Emergency Medical Services transported the 54-year-old victim to Carolinas Medical Center-Main in Charlotte, where she underwent surgery.
Medical officials later pronounced her brain dead.
Carpenter expected arrests to occur in the case later today. However, the male suspect may be on the run, he said.