UPDATE: Dive crews suspend search for former Chadbourn police chief in Lumber River until morning

COLUMBUS COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – Dive crews have suspended the search for the body of former Chadbourn police chief Anthony Spivey in the Lumber River until 6:30 a.m. Tuesday, according to Columbus County Sheriff Jody Greene.

The dive team and a helicopter will be assisting when the search resumes.

Greene said Spivey’s truck was located in the area of Sandhills Hunting Club between Fair Bluff and Williamson Crossroads.

Crews began searching at approximately 1 p.m. Monday and continued until sunset.

According to Greene, Spivey has been missing since 5:30 p.m. Sunday, leaving family and friends with questions.

“It didn’t really hit me until I saw my truck,” said family friend Dean Sasser. “And I saw the boat where it was located, and he had a letter in the truck to all of us saying his goodbye. It’s devastating.”

Dean Sasser says he was a father figure to Spivey, and when he asked to borrow his truck on Sunday night, Sasser said yes without hesitation.

That truck was found empty at the hunting club Monday morning.

“We were contacted this morning by wild life around 11 am with a missing body,” said Greene. “Found a boat and pickup truck, and currently searching for Anthony Spivey’s body. He’s been reported missing by the family.”

Greene says Spivey told his family he was going to the river to check cat hooks, and never returned home on Sunday night.

“He didn’t have anything else to live for,” said Sasser. “He was pretty much going downhill the last two weeks, especially this last week, he was in a dark place. He couldn’t take it anymore.”

Spivey was arrested in April 2021 and charged with more than 70 offenses. The former chief is accused of repeatedly raiding the police department’s evidence room and stealing a variety of narcotics, thousands of dollars in cash, and firearms.

In June 2021, Spivey was charged with embezzling $8,000 meant for a family whose son was battling leukemia. According to the indictment, Spivey allegedly took money intended for the Buffkin family, who lost their son, Philip Tanner Buffkin, to his battle with leukemia in August of 2019.

Last month, Spivey was accused of stealing two catalytic converters from his employer.

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