The Wilkes Sheriff’s Office charged a man with murder on Jan. 12 in connection with the death of a man who lived near him on North Ridge Road in Roaring River.

Bert Eugene Lonsway, 61, of 297 North Ridge Road was arrested in McDuffie County, Ga., on Jan. 13 and awaits extradition to Wilkes County, stated a press release from the Wilkes Sheriff’s Office.

Lonsway is charged with murder in the death of Barry Lee Buckingham, 63, of 263 North Ridge Road. According to the warrant for Lonsway’s arrest, the murder occurred sometime after Nov. 27.

Wilkes deputies went to Buckingham’s residence about 11:30 a.m. Jan. 10 in response to a request for a well-being check. Family members met deputies there and stated that they were concerned because they hadn’t heard anything from him since Thanksgiving.

Deputies made entry after examining the outside of the residence and found a deceased person, later identified as Buckingham. An autopsy was conducted and it appears the victim was subject to some form of fatal blunt force trauma, the press release stated.

Chief Deputy James Summers said Lonsway and Buckingham were acquaintances but no details have been released about a potential motive.

The State Bureau of Investigation and sheriff’s office are continuing their joint investigation of the case, with no further information available at this time.

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