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Officials identify family member whose death was concealed by man; body still not found

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    BLACK MOUNTAIN, North Carolina (WLOS) — In an ongoing investigation into a Candler man charged with concealing a person’s death, among other charges, officials have revealed the missing person’s identity.

Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office released the warrant on Dec. 23 stating Mark Alan Barnes, 49, was charged with felony concealing the death of Nellie Lucille Sullivan, of 25 Bailey Road in Candler, by failing to report her death and burying her remains in a shallow grave.

Officials said they still have not located Sullivan’s remains. A neighbor of Sullivan’s, Belinda Moody, told News 13 on Wednesday, Dec. 23, that investigators had been looking for Sullivan for several years.

Sullivan was the grandmother of Barnes’ wife, Angela Wamsley. A neighbor of Sullivan’s said Wednesday, Dec. 23, that leading up to her disappearance, Sullivan lived in a trailer with Barnes and Wamsley.

Wamsley appeared in court on Tuesday, Dec. 22, facing charges in a separate investigation, but authorities said they believe she has information related to Barnes’ case.

Last week, Buncombe County Sheriff’s Office investigators searched a rural parcel of land in Black Mountain that Barnes once had access to, but they found no remains. They searched the land after interviewing Barnes and Wamsley.

Property records show Barnes and his sister inherited the property off Shumont Road in Black Mountain after their father passed away.

Wamsley and Barnes were taken into custody on Dec. 16 after deputies located them and arrested them on multiple open warrants.

Remembering Nellie Sullivan

Belinda Moody doesn’t have a photo of Nellie Sullivan. But she remembers her 92-year-old neighbor well.

“She was a sweet little, old lady,” said Moody. “She’d give you the clothes off her back, if she could. She made my daughter a Halloween black cape out of a shower curtain she had. She just was very kind.”

Barnes and Wamsley lived with Sullivan for years in a trailer off New Leicester Highway in Black Mountain, Moody said.

“Nellie was Angie’s grandmother,” Moody said.

The Buncombe County Register of Deeds confirms there was no record of Nellie Sullivan’s death or a death certificate.

Moody said she remembers things seemed to have become strained in the trailer across from her, where Nellie lived with her granddaughter, Wamsley, and Barnes.

“After a couple of months she got real sick, and she went into the hospital, and they put her in a nursing home,” Moody said. “They brought her back and then we didn’t see her after that.”

Another neighbor who knew Nellie told News 13 that Barnes and Wamsley left in the middle of the night about five years ago after Nellie disappeared.

“I wondered what happened to her. It bothers me really bad,” Moody said. “Mark and Angie would go out all hours of the nigh and leave their granny there by herself with no food. Sometimes we would bring her food.”

Moody said investigators have talked with her by phone.

“They’ve been looking for her for over a year,” said Barnes, who said she just wants to know what happened to her friend.

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