CANTON, N.C. – The Latest on the death of an employee at a scenic North Carolina inn (all times local):
The owner of a scenic North Carolina inn says his workers are devastated after one of the employees was charged with killing another one.
Owner Bruce O'Connell says there are grief counselors for his approximately 100 employees after their co-worker was found dead on Tuesday. He said he has owned and operated the Pisgah Inn since 1979.
O'Connell said that the group is tight-knit and that many travel around to work seasonal jobs at resorts year-round.
Federal court documents filed Thursday say Derek Shawn Pendergraft faces a charge of second-degree murder in the death of a female cook. The 20-year-old faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted.
Sara Ellis, 29, was reported missing Tuesday night. Authorities say she was found several hours later near a path to employee housing.
An employee at a scenic North Carolina inn has been charged with killing a co-worker whose body was found this week along a path near the Blue Ridge Parkway.
Federal court documents filed Thursday say Derek Shawn Pendergraft faces a charge of second-degree murder in the death of a female cook at the Pisgah Inn. The 20-year-old faces a maximum of life in prison if convicted.
Sara Ellis, 29, was reported missing Tuesday night, according to an FBI news release. Authorities say she was found several hours later near a path to employee housing.
Pendergraft was in federal custody, and he was schedule to appear in court Thursday.
The federal public defender's office said it didn't have information on whether Pendergraft has an attorney.
An employee's death at a North Carolina inn along the famed Blue Ridge Parkway is being investigated as a homicide after federal agents found signs of foul play.
An FBI news release says 29-year-old Sara Ellis was found dead Tuesday night off a path to Pisgah Inn employee housing. She was reported missing several hours earlier by a manager. A path to staff accommodation leads up a wooden staircase and through foliage, according to the hotel website.
The Seminole, Florida, resident had worked as a cook since May at the inn that's run privately under a National Park Service contract. The website says it offers seasonal employment April to October.
The inn at a 5,000-foot (1.5 kilometers) elevation was named best national park lodge by USA Today readers in 2015.