Whiteville, NC – On February 15th, just before 1:00 p.m., Columbus County Sheriff’s Office responded to a wooded area off of Hallsboro Road North in Whiteville. A logging crew working in the area located skeletal remains approximately a mile from the highway. Columbus County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigation Unit responded to the area and secured the scene. Detectives searched the scene, locating skeletal remains along with personal items, including clothing. The remains were transported to the North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office in Raleigh.
The North Carolina Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed the identity of the skeletal remains, as Arthur Lee Heyward. Mr. Heyward died of natural causes. The evidence in the investigation suggests that Mr. Heyward left his residence and walked to a heavily wooded area off of Hallsboro Road North. Mr. Heyward suffered from medical issues that caused disorientation. He was unable to navigate his way back to safety due to the heavy forestation and due to his medical issues.
Arthur Lee Heyward, 77, of Annies Lane, Whiteville was reported missing on August 22, 2017, by his brother. Mr. Heyward was last seen on August 21st around 3:00 p.m., when a neighbor observed him at his mailbox on Annies Lane. Tuesday afternoon, August 22nd, Mr. Heyward’s brother went to check on Mr. Heyward at his residence. Mr. Heyward was nowhere to be found. Mr. Heyward’s vehicle was in his yard where he last parked it