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Remains discovered in Page County identified as those of missing Luray man

Tracy Leicher
Joshua Dee Bradford
Joshua Dee Bradford. Photo: Page County Sheriff’s Office

On Tuesday, the Page County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that recently-discovered remains are those of a man who has been missing for nearly two years.

Joshua Dee Bradford was last seen on Sept. 3, 2022, in the Luray area. Bradford, 35, was first reported missing by his family, and an investigation was opened by the PCSO. Missing posters were distributed online, in person and via social media.

A native of Anderson, South Carolina, Bradford was last seen in Luray, entering a blue 2009 Chevrolet Malibu, registered in the state of Virginia.

Investigators soon focused on a person of interest.

Marcus Lee Lewis
Marcus Lee Lewis. Photo: Page County Sheriff’s Office

A subject by the name of Marcus Lee Lewis was known to operate a blue 2009 Chevrolet Malibu and had ties to the area. After being approached by police, Lewis left Page County.

On Oct. 11, 2022, the PSCO obtained a felony warrant for Lewis, who was found to be in violation of Virginia code §18.2-308.2 – possession of firearms ammunition by a convicted felon.

The PCSO enlisted the help of the media and the public to help spread the word about the Lewis’ physical description and vehicle info in hopes of apprehending him.

In late October 2022, the PCSO announced a partnership with the Department of Alcohol, Tobacco, & Firearms (ATF), to secure a $2,500 reward for information leading to the location of Lewis. However, it seemed as if leads had gone cold.

On Dec. 4, 2022, police in Reno, Nevada, were notified of an individual in the downtown area who was possibly armed with a knife.

Upon the arrival of law enforcement, the male subject failed to follow verbal commands and fled on foot. An officer in pursuit utilized a taser, which failed to stop the subject.

After further refusal to follow the verbal commands of officers, shots were fired at the man. He received medical assistance on-scene and was immediately transported to a nearby hospital.

The subject’s name was Marcus Lee Lewis.

Following his release from the hospital, Lewis was arrested for felony resisting with a dangerous weapon, and a misdemeanor of walking along a highway.

Reno and Sparks are both cities located in the Nevada county of Washoe. A Sparks police detective contacted Captain Tim Lansberry of the PCSO Investigations Division, and indicated that Lewis was in custody.

On May 6 of this year, the PCSO received new information regarding the disappearance of Bradford. Working on this information, investigators located human remains in an area of Page County.

In a May 9 media release, the PCSO announced that the Investigations Division had charged Marcus Lee Lewis with the following:

  • 18.2-32 – Murder in the second degree (Unclassed Felony)
  • 18.2-126 – Willfully, intentionally, and physically defile a dead human body (Class 6 Felony)
  • 18.2-323.02 – Transport, secrete, conceal, or alter a dead body (Class 6 Felony)

On Tuesday June 18, the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner confirmed that the human remains recovered on May 8 were those of Joshua Dee Bradford.

Sheriff Chad Cubbage issued the following statement after announcing the findings:

“The thoughts and prayers of my department go out to the family and friends of Mr. Bradford. My Criminal Investigations Division has been working tirelessly on bringing closure and justice to Bradford’s family.”

Lewis is still being held at a Reno detention facility.

Investigators continue to pursue leads in this case. Anyone with additional information may contact Corporal Nate Baugher or Captain Tim Lansberry at the Page County Sheriff’s Office at (540) 743-6571.

Tracy Leicher is an independent journalist. Her website is TracyLeicher.com.