Body has been identified

Staff Writer

Newton - On April 29, 2019 the Newton Police Department received notification from the North Carolina State Crime Laboratory that a positive identification had been made to a body discovered on March 11, 2019 in the 1500 block of N. Rankin Avenue. Through DNA analysis, the body has been identified as Gary Lee Johnson, 49, of Newton, who had been reported missing on December 3, 2018. Mr. Johnson was reported missing by a friend who last had contact with him on November 30, 2018. Officers checked the residence of Mr. Johnson on the date of the report, but did not locate him. Officers continued to check the residence and surrounding area on multiple occasions, but never located Mr. Johnson. 

On December 17, 2018 the North Carolina SBI assisted in the search with the use of cadaver dogs. After an eight hours search nothing was discovered. At this time the death of Mr. Johnson is not considered suspicious. Investigators are awaiting toxicology results from his autopsy to determine an exact cause of death. 

On March 11, 2019 at approximately 5:07 PM, The Newton Police Department responded to 1500 block of N. Rankin Avenue to investigate a call in which a body was reported to have been found. Upon arrival, Officers were directed to an area adjacent to a business, and discovered a deceased person. Catawba County EMS and Newton Fire Department responded and confirmed the person to be deceased. Investigators with the Newton Police Department were called to the scene. The scene was processed in attempt to determine the identity of the decedent as well as determining the cause of death.