New details released in slain N.C. deputy's case

The 30 search warrants released this week describe videos that caught the final moments of Deputy Ned Byrd's life


By Virginia Bridges
The Charlotte Observer

WAKE COUNTY, N.C. — Deputy Ned Byrd was on his way to the Wake County Law Enforcement Training Center when he saw a suspicious pickup truck on the side of Battle Bridge Road, a two-lane road lined with fences and pastures.

One of the brothers told law enforcement that they planned to hunt for deer, but ended up killing the deputy (pictured), the warrants state.
One of the brothers told law enforcement that they planned to hunt for deer, but ended up killing the deputy (pictured), the warrants state. (Photo/Wake County Sheriff's Office)

Byrd, in his Sheriff’s Office SUV, initially drove past the pickup just after 11 p.m. on the dark rural road in southeast Raleigh. But then he stopped and backed up, according to recently released search warrants.

About two hours later Byrd, 48, was found dead lying in the grass with multiple gun shot wounds, including in the back of his head.

The roughly 30 search warrants released this week describe videos that caught the final moments of the 13-year Sheriff’s Office veteran’s life and the steps officials took to identify, watch and arrest the two brothers now charged with his murder.

Alder Marin-Sotelo, 25, and Arturo Marin-Sotelo, 29, were taken into custody Aug. 16 in Burke County and charged the next day in the killing that shook law enforcement agencies and officers across the state.

One of the brothers told law enforcement that they planned to hunt for deer, but ended up killing the deputy, the warrants state.

The search warrants seek access to the men’s cell phones, social media accounts, vehicles and other items.

If the brothers are convicted of murder, they could face the death penalty or life in prison. Attorneys representing the men declined to comment.

Byrd was found at about 1 a.m., Aug. 12 after he didn’t respond to a dispatcher trying to contact him. His K-9 partner, Sasha, was found unharmed in his SUV.

At his funeral, Byrd was remembered for his selflessness and adventurous life.

“The biggest muscle in Ned’s body was his heart,” said Jason Culbreth, Byrd’s friend.

[EARLIER: Brothers could face death penalty after being charged with N.C. deputy's murder]

Aug. 11, 2022

Aug. 11 surveillance video from the Marathon gas station near where Byrd was shot shows a single cab pickup truck backed up against a fence on the left side of Battle Bridge Road at 11:03 p.m.

About five minutes later Byrd drove by, stopped and backed up, angling the front of his vehicle toward the pickup, his in-car camera showed, the warrant states.

As Byrd pulled up, surveillance video shows someone in the middle of the field with a flashlight that goes dark.

Byrd steps out with his flashlight.

About 13 seconds later, three rapid-fire gunshots are heard and then three more.

At 11:09 p.m. the pickup is seen pulling out and crossing Battle Bridge Road.

Aug. 12, 2022

Multiple agencies helped the Wake County Sheriff’s Office investigate Byrd’s killing, including the FBI, the State Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Marshals Service.

After Byrd was found shot around 1 a.m. Aug. 12, investigators sought to identify the killers by successfully seeking 30 days of cell tower data and analyzing cell phone usage in the area where Byrd was found dead, according to the warrants. Investigators pinpointed two phones that communicated twice on July 25 but over 40 times on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12.

The phones were connected to the brothers, and a judge granted investigators access to the their cell phone activity and started tracking the the men. At some point, the cell phone activity stopped on the two men’s phones, but surveillance indicated they were still using phones. Permission to identify and track other cell phones was granted, according to the warrants.

The cell phone data showed that after the gun shots, a phone used by Alder Marin-Sotelo traveled back to a South Fisher Street home in Raleigh that he visited before the killing. Arturo Marin-Sotelo later told officials that he lived there.

Alder Marin-Sotelo then traveled back to the crime scene in a different vehicle around midnight on Aug. 12 to pick up his brother, according to the warrants, and then both returned to the Fisher Street home.

At 9:30 a.m. on Aug. 15, police observed Arturo Marin-Sotelo on his Fisher Street porch and then followed him as he traveled to various locations across Wake County.

At 11 a.m., Alder Marin-Sotelo pulled up to the Fisher Street address in a gold Cadillac Escalade. He traveled to another Raleigh address and picked up a woman and a child. They drove to a residence in Garner, where Alder Marin-Sotelo stayed until he drove away in the gold Escalade at 5:15 a.m. on Aug. 16.

[PREVIOUS: 'We will find who's responsible': N.C. deputy shot, killed on duty]

Aug. 16, 2022

Alder Marin-Sotelo didn’t get out of the Escalade after pulling up to the Fisher Street address, the warrants state.

Arturo Marin-Sotelo, however, exited the home and got into a black Chevrolet Tahoe.

The two vehicles drove to Winston-Salem, where a woman with their same last name got into the gold Escalade. The woman took the vehicle to be inspected and obtained a new license plate at the N.C. Division of Motor Vehicles, the warrants state.

Afterward, the two men returned to their respective SUVs, visited two different gas stations, and headed west on Interstate 40.

Law enforcement officials continued to follow the brothers until they stopped them around 3:07 p.m. near Morganton in Burke County. The two men were both taken into custody on federal offenses.

In the Escalade, police found an AK-47, a clear bag containing a white substance and five AK magazines loaded with rounds, according to the warrants.

In the Tahoe investigators found another AK rifle and a 9 mm firearm with a loaded magazine along with other ammunition. It is believed Byrd was killed with a 9 mm, the warrants state, but do not indicate whether the gun found in the Tahoe was connected to the killing.

Third brother

While investigators were watching the Winston-Salem address, Alder and Arturo Marin-Sotelo’s third brother stopped by and was soon pulled over by a Forsyth County sheriff.

Rolando Marin-Sotelo, 18, was driving a 1998 Nissan Sentra when he was pulled over for operating a vehicle with illegal tint and a fictitious tag, according to federal court documents.

He was charged in federal court with possession of ammunition by an illegal alien after two boxes of 9 mm bullets were found on the front passenger-side floorboard.

Rolando Marin-Sotelo later told police that earlier that day he had sold a pickup truck, which investigators believe was the one captured on surveillance the night of the killing and released to the public when searching for suspects.

Arturo said he would give Rolando $300 if he sold the truck, the youngest brother told officials, the warrants state. The youngest brother told investigators that Alder Marin-Sotelo and the woman seen at the Winston-Salem address facilitated the sale of the pickup.

The pickup truck is referred to as Chevrolet Colorado in many of the search warrants, but actually turned out to be a GMC Canyon.

Oldest brother speaks to police

After the two brothers were taken into custody on I-40 near Morganton on Aug. 16, they were split up.

Alder Marin-Sotelo was taken to the Durham County jail and then moved to Winston-Salem, where he made a court appearance on a federal gun charge on Aug. 17, according to Durham jail and federal court records.

Alder Marin-Sotelo faced a federal charge of “possession of a firearm by an illegal alien.” It stemmed from a July 2021 citation by a state trooper in Chapel Hill that included a charge of carrying a concealed weapon. The charge was put on hold, or dismissed with leave, after Alder Marin-Sotelo failed to show up for court twice, according to court documents.

At some point, Arturo Marin-Sotelo was taken to the Alamance County jail.

On Aug. 16, Arturo Marin-Sotelo told investigators that the night of Byrd’s killing, he and Alder drove out to a field on Battle Bridge Road to hunt for deer in Alder’s red pickup truck.

After they arrived, Arturo Marin-Sotelo got out and walked through the woods carrying an AK-47 rifle while his brother stayed with the truck, the warrant states.

Arturo Marin-Sotelo was in the field when he saw a vehicle activate blue lights where his brother was parked, he told police.

Arturo Marin-Sotelo heard gunshots and saw the pickup pulling away, he told police, the warrant states. He then called his brother.

“Alder Marin stated that a police officer had just been shot,” the warrant states.

Arrest warrants charging the men with murder were issued on Aug. 17, according to Wake County court documents.

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