2 men found dead in burning truck; man charged with murder

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GRIFFIN, Ga. (AP) — A man has been charged with murder in the deaths of two Georgia men whose bodies were found burning in a pickup truck east of Griffin, authorities said.

Spalding County Sheriff Darrell Dix said Erik Eduardo Cabrealopez is charged with murder, aggravated assault, kidnapping, concealing a death and evidence tampering. Cabrealopez was captured after a car chase and is jailed in Spalding County. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

Dix said Thursday that investigators believe the two dead men are 29-year-old Joshua Wyatt and 36-year-old Carlos Benford, who were reported missing from neighboring Henry County.

“Hopefully we’re going to be able to get some justice for them and justice for their families,” Dix told reporters.

Dix said the bodies were identified based on their race, height, weight and distinguishing marks such as tattoos. Both bodies have been taken for autopsy, but the sheriff said evidence suggests at least Wyatt was shot in the head. The truck had no license plate and the fire was so intense that it destroyed the vehicle identification numbers, authorities said.

The sheriff said the men reportedly left to discuss a business deal with a Hispanic man and weren’t heard from again. Tips eventually led investigators to search a house in Griffin on Wednesday. They found furniture and other items piled up in the backyard and burned.

“Somebody had gone through the house spraying bleach in an attempt to hide anything that might have happened,” Dix said.

Despite those efforts, Dix said, investigators found blood in a corner of a back room where they believe Wyatt and Benford were killed. They also found Wyatt’s pickup truck near the house.

Cabrealopez was captured in Atlantaafter a state trooper forced him to a stop following a short chase.

Dix said investigators believe Cabrealopez entered the country illegally.

The sheriff said clothing found in the house suggests people other than Cabrealopez were living in the house, but said it’s not clear if they were linked to the killing.

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