By Steve Large

GRASS VALLEY (CBS13) — Investigators are revealing disturbing details in a torture and murder case of a beloved Nevada County Vietnam veteran.

Stanley Norman, 70, was first reported missing weeks ago. Now investigators say his burnt remains were discovered in a Nevada County backyard.

Nevada County Sheriff’s investigators have arrested his friend, Sean Bryant, for torture and murder.

“I don’t think Stan should have seen it coming,” Nevada County Sheriff’s Lt. Rob Bringolf said. “I don’t think anyone would have seen it coming.”

Deputies say it was a death no man deserves. After he was allegedly tortured and killed, Norman’s body was then set on fire and burned beyond recognition.

Deputies say Bryant killed Norman and attempted the cover-up.

“I think that they were friends I think that they spent a lot of time together,” Bringolf said.

The two were members of a motorcycle group called the American Legion Riders. Other riders in the group are stunned by the allegations and the heinous details.

“It’s unfathomable,” Kristen Day said. “To have anybody do that to him, but especially someone he considered a friend.”

Day is a member of the Grass Valley American Legion, who first helped coordinate searches for Norman in the days after his disappearance. She says Bryant volunteered to help too.

“[Bryant] even added to the conversation about perhaps checking lakes, diving in lakes, using depth sonar,” Day said.

Now named as the alleged killer, Day does not believe Bryant was ever there to help.

“He had even his closest friends fooled,” Day said.

Nevada County deputies say they have a motive in the murder, but they aren’t releasing it publicly.

Norman and Bryant had been drinking together at McGee’s bar in Nevada City the night of the alleged murder. The two left together, then Norman was never seen alive again.

After serving in the war, deputies say Norman died at the hands of another U.S. veteran who he thought was his friend.

“The way in which Mr. Norman was said to expire was a turn of events,” Bringolf said. “It’s not something I’ve never dealt with as an investigator.”

The Nevada County Sheriff’s Office is calling this an ongoing investigation. According to his family, Norman leaves behind three sons and seven grandchildren.

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