Rowan County detectives said they now believe two homicides that happened in the eastern part of the county over the summer could be connected.
“I believe there is someone out there that knows and has some information on these cases, and it takes a simple phone call to Crimestoppers or one of our detectives,” Rowan County Sheriff Travis Allen said.
The first happened on July 20, which is when investigators say David Land was shot and killed. It happened sometime between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. that day on Poole Road near High Rock Lake.
The second happened 32 days later on Aug. 21, when someone driving by a camper on St. Peters Church Road saw flames shooting out of it and called authorities. Deputies said once firefighters made it inside, they found the body of Michael Mitchke, 57. He had been shot as well, deputies confirmed Thursday.
“We sifted through every bit of the rubble through relic screens where you locate finite small evidence,” Allen said. “Literally, the entire camper was done that way and it helped recover some vital evidence.”
On Thursday, deputies said they were able to determine the incidents could be related based on evidence from both scenes.
The shootings took place in rural parts of eastern Rowan County less than a 10-minute drive apart.
“We have not found any connection between the two victims,” the sheriff said.
The sheriff’s office said they’ve been investigating leads relentlessly but have not made any arrests in either case, and cannot release any more details at this time because it might jeopardize the investigation.
The Rowan County Sheriff’s Office had already offered a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for Mitchke’s death, and Mitchke’s family offered an additional $10,000 reward for the same. In Land’s case, the sheriff’s office also offered a $10,000 reward.
“My main thing is we have two families now that went through a holiday season without their loved ones and I take that very seriously,” Allen said. “(At) the Rowan County Sheriff’s Department, we give those cases the utmost level of priority.”
With the potential connection between the cases, someone with information that meets the criteria could receive a total reward of $30,000.
Anyone with information is asked to call Lt. Ryan Barkley at 704-216-8711, or Det. Kevin Holshouser at 704-216-8702.
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