2 men found in burning truck identified, man arrested after police chase

SPALDING COUNTY, Ga. — The Spalding County Sheriff’s Office has identified two men found dead in a burning truck.

Firefighters responded to calls about a burning vehicle on Jackson Road around 12:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Firefighters found a Chevrolet Z71 pickup truck parked just inside the wood line fully engulfed in flames.

As they put out the fire, crews found two bodies in the bed of the truck.

The fire was so intense destroyed the truck’s VIN plates and the truck had no tag.

While talking to other agencies, Spalding County Sheriff’s Office Investigators learned that two people had been reported missing from Henry County on April 11.

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Investigators said the men had gone to meet another man to discuss a joint business venture and had not been seen or heard from since.

Based on information provided by the men’s families, officials were able to identify the victims as Joshua Wyatt, 29, and Carlos Benford, 36.

The investigation led to an address in Griffin. On April 14, SWAT units executed a search warrant at the home on Dutchman Road. The home had been abandoned and furniture and other items inside had been burned in the backyard. Investigators also found that the interior of the house had been sprayed with bleach.

“Their attempts to cover up their crime failed. Our Crime Scene Investigators located the actual spot in the house where the murders took place, and they were able to recover evidence. Also located in the search were items that directly linked the victims to the house,” Spalding County officials said.

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Spalding County Investigators secured a warrant for Erik Eduardo Cabrea Lopez and charged him with two counts of murder, 2 counts of felony murder, 2 counts of malice murder, 2 counts of aggravated assault, 2 counts of kidnapping, 2 counts of concealing a death and 2 counts of tampering with evidence.

Cabrea Lopez was taken into custody in Fulton County around 12:30 p.m. Thursday after a police chase in which a Georgia State Trooper performed a PIT maneuver.

Channel 2′s Dave Huddleston was in Spalding County Thursday when Sheriff Darrell Dix talked to reporters.

It was a senseless, tragic completely uncalled for deaths of these two men, and hopefully we are going to be able to get some justice for them and justice for their families,” Dix said.

Dix said Wyatt and Benford met with Cabrea Lopez to talk about putting together some kind of performance space.

Several law enforcement agencies including the GBI West Narcotics Unit and the GBI Gang Task Force were involved in the investigation.

“We are all praying for the families of these two young men whose lives were taken in such as violent and senseless way. We are going to do all we can to make sure that their killer and anyone else that we learn was involved as the investigation continues never sees the light of day as a free man again until the day they die,” officials said.

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