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2 more charged in murder

Police investigators charged two cousins with murder Sunday in the strangling death of Dr. James David Boyd, a Salisbury dentist who was being investigated by the State Bureau of Investigation.

Jonathan Barnett, 18 and Christopher Boyd, 21, who is not related to the victim, are in the Rowan County Jail without bond. Their charges follow the arrest last week of a Mocksville woman, also accused of murder in the death of Dr. James David Boyd, 47.

Police said Sunday more arrests are possible in the homicide – the second in Salisbury this year.

A concerned co-worker found Boyd about 8:30 a.m. Thursday, tied to his bed. The dentist, described by relatives as a devoted father and youth basketball coach, will be buried Tuesday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church cemetery.

At the time of Boyd's death, SBI agents were investigating allegations that he illegally prescribed the painkiller hydrocodone, a police source confirmed.

More details of the SBI probe were not available Sunday.

Salisbury Police Chief Mark Wilhelm declined to comment on any investigation or whether narcotics were linked to Boyd's death. He also declined to give a motive in the slaying.

The three suspects – Barnett, Christopher Boyd and Candice Jo Drye, 23 – all know each other and were together the night the dentist was killed, investigators said.

Drye is engaged to Boyd's brother, Stephen Boyd, who is the father of her three children.

Drye was the first to be arrested. Police only described her as an “acquaintance” and confirmed she is not a family friend. Irene Cruse, Drye's stepmother, told the Observer that Drye had been to the dentist's office before, and that Boyd had prescribed painkillers for her.

She said her stepdaughter was with him Wednesday night. They had met at his office, Cruse said, and went to his home to have drinks. Boyd's wife and three children were at the beach.

Cruse said she got a call from Boyd about 10 p.m., asking Cruse and her husband to come get Drye, who had been drinking. Neither could go pick her up, Cruse said.

At some point later that night, Stephen Boyd's mother went to the dentist's home to pick up Drye. She found Drye walking near the home.

A neighbor told police she saw someone she didn't recognize in the neighborhood that night – information investigators now believe is connected to the homicide, Wilhelm said Sunday.

When his co-worker found him the next morning, James Boyd's feet and hands were bound with electrical cord. His hands were tied to a bed in the master bedroom of his home near Salisbury Country Club. He was not gagged. Investigators would not disclose if he was clothed.

The covers were pulled up to his chest and there were no apparent injuries, other than a scratch on his shoulder blade, Wilhelm said. The room was in disarray and some items appear to be missing from the three-story home. There were no signs of forced entry, he said.

Boyd's time of death was not available Sunday.

At about 4:30 a.m. Thursday, Drye, Barnett and Christopher Boyd were pulled over in Rowan County on a traffic violation, Wilhelm said. He couldn't give details about the stop, including the type of vehicle, who was driving and whether any charges were filed.

Late Saturday night, authorities arrested Barnett after his tearful mother brought him to the magistrate's office in Rowan County. The two apparently talked about Boyd's death, Wilhelm said. After a lengthy interview with the teenager, authorities then arrested Christopher Boyd in a Concord mobile home they searched early Sunday morning.

Investigators also returned to the dentist's home to look for more evidence, Salisbury Police Detective J.D. Barber said.

Both Drye and Christopher Boyd have criminal histories in North Carolina. Drye pleaded guilty to driving while impaired on June 5. Boyd is awaiting trial for the same charge, according to court documents.

Staff Researcher Maria Wygand contributed.

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