A Ft. Bragg soldier trying to stage his own disappearance searched the Internet for a man who looked like him and cut the man's throat, but the victim survived, police said.
The victim pulled the 8-inch knife from his throat, cut ropes around his hands and feet, and fled, sheriff's Det. Barbara Davenport said.
Jonathan Meadows, a specialist assigned to the 37th Engineering Battalion, was charged with attempted murder and held in lieu of $50,000 bond.
Meadows spent weeks searching the Internet for someone who would be mistaken for himself, Davenport said. He was seeking men who were 5-foot-6, about 150 pounds, with brown hair and blue eyes.
Meadows found Stephen "Jeremy" Bowen about two weeks ago, lured him to his home, tied him up and cut his throat the night of Oct. 6, Davenport said. Bowen, 26, who suffered severe cuts to his larynx, ran to a neighbor's house. Meadows surrendered shortly after the attack.
Meadows, 20, said his plot was a way to get out of the Army, according to investigators. He was frustrated with the Army and depressed, Davenport said.
"He didn't want the Army looking for him," she said. "He didn't want his wife looking for him. He said he was going to assume a new identity. I think he thought it was set up so well that nobody would think it [the body] wasn't him."
Meadows and Bowen first met about a week ago at a bookstore in Fayetteville for coffee. They met a second time Oct. 6 at Meadows' home, Davenport said.
Meadows' attorney, Cynthia Black, declined to comment. His next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 24.
Meadows and his wife, Thea, separated last month, and she moved to Tennessee with their two girls, ages 3 years and 7 months, authorities said.
Meadows joined the Army in 1999.