LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC (WACH) - An arrest has been made in the case of a West Columbia man who was reported missing one year ago on Christmas day.
According to Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts, detectives arrested 34-year-old William Thomas "Tommy" Embree, Jr., on charges of murder and kidnapping on Wednesday, Dec. 19 in connection with the disappearance and death of 22-year-old Michael Jody George.
Metts says detectives are still searching for George's body.
Embree was arrested while serving a six-year prison sentence with the South Carolina Department of Corrections after being convicted of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature in March.
Arrest warrants allege that between approximately 10 p.m. on December 23, 2011 and approximately 5:30 a.m. on December 24, 2011 Embree unlawfully confined and kidnapped George from Shooterâ??s Bar at on Charleston Highway near Cayce, Metts said.
According to Metts, detectives believe there are others involved in the crime. Witnesses told authorities Embree removed George from the bar after George became drunk. Embree drove away with George in George's vehicle, which was later found abandoned near West Columbia.
Authorities say family members, including George's brother and father, began contacting law enforcement on Christmas day
George's family has been holding out hope for answers in the case. A Facebook page "Help Find Michael Jody George Lexington County SC" has been regularly updated since the man's disappearance. Vigils have also been held throughout the year.
According to the Facebook page, a balloon release will be held on December 23 in the Reid's parking lot on Charleston Hwy.
Embree had his first appearance at the Lexington County Detention Center Wednesday afternoon.
Anyone with additional information on this case is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.