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Friend says he found victim suffocated, duct-taped in basement

By Tony Burbeck
WCNC-TV

ALBEMARLE The man who said he found 27-year-old Jason Burleson murdered, tied up and duct-taped in a Stanly County home claimed Burleson’s house was ransacked and said it appeared Burleson suffocated from his restraints.

Jeremy Shaver, 17, and Tracey Henderson, 19, said they went to Burleson’s house Sunday night because they hadn’t heard from him in a couple of days and he hadn’t returned phone calls. Henderson drove the two to Burleson’s house.

“It was ransacked,” Shaver said. “Everything was pulled out – the closets, couch, cushions flipped up – obvious(ly) someone had been in there looking for something.”

They saw Burleson’s lighter and tennis shoes and figured he must still be in the house. They also thought someone might have kidnapped him considering the way the house looked.

They then went into the basement and found Burleson dead, tied to a chair, with his mouth and nose duct-taped.

“I didn’t really want to look,” Shaver said. “Didn’t take that much of a glance at him – didn’t want to. He suffocated.”

Shaver called 911. The operator asked him to check Burleson’s pulse, but he was already dead.

Shaver said it’s strange that another one of Burleson’s acquaintances – Tony Cunningham – was run over, robbed and killed the same weekend in the Albemarle area.

Shaver said he believes there’s a link between the two crimes.

Authorities have not said whether they believe the two deaths are connected.

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