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Green Country couple arrested in Tulsa in connection with murder of North Carolina man

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Posted at 7:37 PM, Sep 20, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-21 09:46:52-04

TULSA (WECT-NBC) - Two people were arrested in Tulsa on Wednesday for the shooting death of a man in Tabor City, N.C.

According to authorities in Tulsa, the Columbus County Sheriff's Office and the US Marshals Office, William Fortney, from Coweta, and Amber Hitchcock, from Broken Arrow, are facing felony robbery and murder charges for killing Ricky Long, 57, of Fair Bluff, N.C., on Saturday.

The US Marshall’s Task Force located Fortney, 39, and Hitchcock, 32, Thursday inside a Tulsa Motel 6, authorities say.

Deputy Jeffrey Johnston with US Marshals said the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation contacted authorities in Oklahoma on Monday, letting them know that Fortney and Hitchcock might be heading there.

Less than 24 hours later, Long's vehicle was found by Wagoner County deputies. According to Johnston, Fortney and Hitchcock tried to submerge the vehicle in the Verdigris River, but the car got caught on a tree limb and didn't sink.

Broken Arrow police who were working the case located the suspects on Tuesday and arrest warrants were obtained from Columbus County. US Marshals had the Motel 6 surrounded Thursday when Fortney and Hitchcock walked out into the parking lot and were arrested without incident.

They are being held in Tulsa County Jail without bond.

Around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, the Columbus County Sheriff's Office received a call in reference to a possible assault on 366 PD Branch Drive in Tabor City. When deputies arrived on the scene, they found Long dead.

Columbus County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Michele Tatum said Tuesday that an autopsy performed by the state medical examiner's office determined Long's cause of death was a gunshot wound.

A Wednesday afternoon news release said the State Bureau of Investigation determined Fortney and Hitchcock entered Long's residence, assaulted him and shot him. They fled from Long's home in Long's vehicle and headed for Oklahoma after stealing a wallet, jewelry and a phone.

(Story courtesy WECT, NBC affiliate in Wilmington, N.C.)

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