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Man arrested in death of Durham priest

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The SBI arrested Matthew Reed, 36, and charged him with first-degree murder in Hinkson's death. The SBI arrested Matthew Reed, 36, and charged him with first-degree murder in Hinkson's death.
Matthew Reed Matthew Reed
DURHAM, N.C. - The North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation said a 36-year-old man has been arrested and charged in the death of 71-year-old Kent Hinkson.

The SBI arrested Matthew Reed, 36, and charged him with first-degree murder in Hinkson's death. He is being held at the Orange County Jail. His first court appearance was Monday at 2 p.m.

Hinkson's body was found in the Eno River State Park early Sunday. The SBI is investigating the death since Hinkson's body was found in a state park.

Charlie Peek, spokesperson for the Eno River State Park, said Reed led authorities to Hinkson's body around midnight.

Hinkson's body has been sent to the State Medical Examiner's Office for an autopsy, the SBI said.

The Hinkson family released a statement following the discovery of his body:

“It is with the most profound sadness imaginable, we wanted to let you know that the body of our beloved father, spouse and grandfather – Kent Torrey Hinkson was found late last night. A suspect is in custody. We learned of this on early Sunday morning, August 10th. Given the ongoing investigation, we cannot provide any further comment. For all matters related to this case, refer to communications from the Durham Police Department.”

Family members last saw Kent Hinkson Monday around 3 p.m. at his home in Durham. He made a deposit at the Wells Fargo Bank in the Woodcroft Shopping Center on Hope Valley Road shortly after and also purchased something at a Rite Aid.

Family members said police have surveillance photos from both the bank and Ride Aid that confirmed Hinkson was at those locations.

Hinkson's family thought they had a promising lead when they pinged Kent's cellphone, showing it was in the Duke University area. But a short time later, they tried again without any result.

Police found his car Wednesday at an apartment complex on Williamsburg Road in Durham.

Hinkson served as a volunteer priest at the All Saints Church in Durham.

Members the church found out about Hinkson's death during service Sunday morning.

"For me personally it was deeply, deeply saddening to get the news but finally a sense of thankfulness for some closure to make a next step in that and there are no answers for why something like that would happen," said family friend Eric Meckley.

Officials with the SBI said it is in the very early stages of the investigation.

Reed's next court appearance is Aug. 25. He is being held without bond.

A memorial service for Kent Hinkson will be held Aug. 16 at 1:00 pm at the Church of the Good Shepherd located at 3741 Garrett Road in Durham.

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