SCOTTSBORO, Ala. (WHNT) – Jackson County search and rescue teams found the body of a wanted Pisgah man Thursday morning in a Scottsboro swamp.
Charles Leon Liles, 33, disappeared Friday night into the swamp between Alabama Highway 35 and Dock Street, near the B.B. Comer bridge.
Sheriff Chuck Phillips said Liles ran into the swamp to avoid arrest, after a deputy investigating suspicious activity at a nearby service station saw Liles and Anthony Grey.
Liles had outstanding warrants for his arrest on felony drug charges, and investigators say he ran away as the deputy arrested Grey for outstanding warrants from Rainsville.
“We chased [Liles] down here behind the water treatment plant and then we tracked him with a dog,” Phillips said.
“He ran again and jumped across the road and that’s when he went down into the swamp and that was the last time our officers saw him.”
The sheriff said it was too dark for deputies to go into the swamp so they went to the opposite bank, expecting to him come out. Thermal imaging attempts were unsuccessful.
Phillips said people who run from the authorities usually contact their family or friends, but Liles’ father called the sheriff’s office Monday to report his son missing since no one in the family had heard from him since before Friday evening.
“We came back out here with a few rescue squad members that day and searched the banks, and the state sent their helicopter to fly over the swamp,” Phillips said.
“The swamp is full of cat tails and stuff that’s probably six feet tall so to stand on the bank and look into the swamp you can’t see anything. We felt like with a helicopter we’d be able to get above it and look down into the cat tails and see if he’s still there,” he said.
The search resumed Thursday morning as several rescue squads from across Jackson County were available to help in the search, aided by clear sky and warmer temperatures.
“Today when they worked their way across they got almost back to the other side of the bank and found him,” Phillips said.
Liles’ family was at the scene as rescuers returned his body to shore.
“We chase people all the time, and rarely, rarely, does something like this happen. Usually they get away from us and we catch them at a later time but it is sad for the family that this happened,” Phillips said.
Investigators have not determined the cause of death and are waiting on autopsy results.