A manhunt was underway Wednesday for a North Carolina man suspected of killing his wife.

An arrest warrant was issued for Joseph Barker after his wife’s body was discovered in a house in Vale at around 11 p.m. EDT Tuesday. The unidentified victim was believed to be shot to death and Barker was suspected to be the last person to see her alive.

“We are requesting assistance in locating Joseph Barker, last seen driving a 1999 Toyota Camry, black in color in the 4700 block of Plateau Road in Vale. He is a person of interest in a shooting from April 23, 2019, and should be considered armed and dangerous,” the Catawba County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post. Deputies issued a BOLO (Be on the Lookout) for Barker.

Apart from Catawba County deputies, the State Bureau of Investigation and the North Carolina State Highway Patrol were investigating the case.

Investigators told ABC-affiliated WSOC-TV that the couple’s children – two teenage sons – were inside the house when the shooting took place. They were not harmed. The police said the sons might not have witnessed the shooting but were able to provide them with details about what they had heard. They told police that Barker was last seen wearing a red shirt and tan pants and also provided information about the car he was driving. 

At around 5 a.m. Wednesday, Barker’s car was found wrecked along Highway 64 in Transylvania County. Although there was no sign of the suspect, investigators said they had no reason to believe Barker had left the area. Transylvania County Sheriff's Office Capt. Jeremy Queen said it was possible that Barker sustained some injuries based on the impact of the crash. He is believed to have fled on foot.

“Residents in the area should stay indoors if possible and report any suspicious activity. All schools are on a Code Yellow, which is a soft lockdown, keeping everyone indoors until further notice. There will be a heavy law enforcement presence in area,” the Transylvania Co. Sheriff's Office said in a social media update.

Transylvania County Sheriff David Mahoney said he doesn't want the search to end with a deadly confrontation. "Obviously our prayer is we don't get that car and we find him. We find him safe," Mahoney said.

In another update, residents were urged to stay vigil. “There will also continue to be road checks in various surrounding areas; so please leave yourself plenty of time to reach your destination if you are traveling in the area… lock your doors, windows, and vehicles, and take your keys from all your vehicles. Use common sense and be safe,” it said.

Anyone with any information about Barker’s whereabouts or other relevant information was requested to contact the Catawba County Sheriff’s Office at 828-464-5241. The police announced a reward of up to $2,000 for information leading to the apprehension of the suspect.