Virginia police say wanted Marine deserter sought family


ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — Police in Virginia say the Marine deserter wanted for questioning in a murder case was trying to reach out to a family member when he was spotted.

Roanoke Police Chief Tim Jones told a news conference that it’s believed Michael Alexander Brown was trying to contact his grandmother when a neighbor saw him early Thursday.

The Roanoke Times reports the U.S. Marshals Service learned Sunday night that Brown might be driving a recreational vehicle near Clarendon County, South Carolina, about four hours southwest of Camp Lejeune, in North Carolina, where he had been stationed as a U.S. Marine until leaving his post last month.

Jones said the RV was discovered by police in a church parking lot on Thursday. Brown was not inside.

The search for Brown began after someone called 911 around 4 a.m. to report that someone was tapping on the windows of a nearby house.

Jones said Brown’s grandmother lives at that house and they believe he was trying to contact her and his mother.

“Family,” Jones said. “I think family is what brought him.”

Brown is wanted for questioning in the death of his mother’s boyfriend, 54-year-old Rodney Brown. Police aren’t sure of a motive for the killing.

City officials on Thursday afternoon lifted the shelter-in-place order for a portion of the city which included a high school. Roanoke City Public Schools also announced schools will reopen on Friday. Residents were still advised be vigilant and report any suspicious activity.

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