Body found

Published 3:56 pm Friday, June 10, 2011

HAMILTON – The now month-old search for a Pitt County robbery suspect has come to an end.

The body of Roland Bell was found at approximately 3:30 p.m. Friday afternoon by a boater on the Roanoke River. Bell had been missing since jumping into the river on April 28.

“This is a sad way for the chase to end, but at least it brings closure to his family,” Bertie County Sheriff John Holley said.

Sheriff Holley said a boater found the body approximately seven and a half miles from the bridge, which is located on N.C. 11 at the Bertie-Martin county line. The sheriff’s office retrieved the body shortly after arriving on the scene.

Bell was identified by items found on his body, including a driver’s license and other ID.

Bell reportedly jumped off the bridge after being involved in high speed chase that began in Greenville. There, he and two others were suspected in the robbery of a motorcycle shop.

When he arrived at the bridge, which was undergoing repairs, he reportedly struck a wheelbarrow and then leapt from the bridge into the Roanoke River.

Sheriff Holley said he believed Bell met his demise quickly.

“I think he drown shortly after going into the water,” Sheriff Holley said. “The evidence is that he died some time ago.”