A North Carolina man has been arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the case of a state insurance investigator missing since Wednesday.

Police said Monday that Michael Arthur Howell, 40, of Indian Trail, N.C., was being held in the Mecklenburg County jail in the death of Sallie Rohrbach, 44, The Charlotte Observer reported.

Rohrbach, of Angier, was in Charlotte to investigate a complaint at the Dillworth Insurance Agency, where Howell reportedly worked, according to the Observer.

Rohrbach missed an appointment Thursday morning and didn't keep plans with friends on Thursday night, the day before she was scheduled to return to Raleigh, North Carolina Department of Insurance spokeswoman Chrissy Pearson told the paper.

Rohrbach's husband, Tim, told The News & Observer of Raleigh that his wife sent him an e-mail Tuesday telling him she was meeting friends the next evening in Charlotte — but she didn't show up.

Pearson said coworkers finally reported her missing Friday evening after being unable to find anyone who'd seen her, according to the Observer.

Rohrbach's state-owned Chevrolet Malibu was found Sunday morning at a Bojangles' restaurant in Charlotte, less than a mile from the agency.

Police had the agency cordoned off early Monday. They did not say how they linked Howell to Rohrbach or whether a body had been found.

Detectives spent the day Sunday searching the area around the restaurant with help from firefighters, tracking dogs and a helicopter. Nine criminal investigators from the North Carolina Insurance Department were sent to Charlotte to help in the case.

"This is obviously time sensitive and we want to get as much done in as short a time period as we can," Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Capt. Alan Rutledge told the paper.

Rohrbach was a field examiner who was sent to various areas to investigate complaints about insurance agencies and in some cases she would be gone up to a week, state officials said.

Pearson said Rohrbach was covering for another investigator when she went to Charlotte, and the department would have known if Rohrbach's plans had changed.

Click here to read more from The Charlotte Observer.

The Associated Press Contributed to this report.