Virginia man extradited to Raleigh following arrest in connection with man’s disappearance

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – The 34-year-old Virginia man who was arrested in connection with the disappearance of a Raleigh man over the weekend has been extradited back to Wake County, arrest records show.

Justin Fernando Merritt on Sept. 15, 2020. (Raleigh/Wake CCBI)

Justin Fernando Merritt, of Danville, Virginia was arrested Monday in relation to the disappearance of William “Andy” Banks. He was placed in the Danville City Jail after being taken into custody.

Merritt was charged with robbery, larceny of motor vehicle, and possession of a firearm by convicted felon in connection with the stolen vehicle.

Merritt wasn’t served with those warrants until he was brought to Raleigh. The 34-year-old waived extradition early Tuesday.

Arrest records show he was processed at the Wake County Detention Center at 10 p.m.

Banks, 39, was last seen Saturday afternoon after his family said he was meeting someone in the K&W Cafeteria parking lot at Cameron Village about selling his 2011 Silver Range Rover Sport.

Banks hasn’t been seen since but the vehicle was located in Danville on Monday.

A witness told CBS 17 he saw Danville police officers on Monday investigating behind a church on Hughes Street.

“It must’ve been a Range Rover involved that was behind a church on Hughes Street,” the witness told CBS 17.

Andy Banks

According to public records, Merritt at one time lived on Hughes Street but his arrest record in Wake County lists his address as Smith Street in Danville – which is less than a mile from Hughes Street.

Court records show Merritt has several prior charges, including a conviction in January for assault and battery. He also served time behind bars for a 2013 conviction on burglary and drug charges.

Merritt listed his employer as a mechanical and electrical company on his arrest documents.

Holly Haygood, a long time friend of Banks, said Tuesday evening she is concerned but is praying for Banks’ safe return.

“He would never be one to just leave without letting anyone know or leave behind his phone. We are really hoping he’s OK,” said Haygood. “I’m excited that they are finding things and moving forward with the investigation. We just are really praying that we are able to find Andy.”

Merritt is expected to appear before a Wake County judge Wednesday.

Anyone with information concerning Banks’ whereabouts is asked to call Raleigh police.

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