A couple were arrested and charged on Friday in connection with the killing and dismemberment of a teen.
Lancaster County sheriff’s deputies found the remains of 18-year-old Austin Tyler Steele while searching two homes in the 1800 block of High Point Circle on Thursday morning. Deputies went to the homes after a caller reported a crime might have occurred.
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Christopher Holford was charged with murder. His wife, Brandy Duncan, was jailed on a charge of being an accessory to a murder.
The sheriff’s office accuses Holford of shooting Steele in the neck on the property several weeks ago. Steele appears to have died the next morning, investigators said.
Holford is accused of dismembering Steele and hiding the parts around the property.
“A human torso absent limbs was found buried on the property,” a sheriff’s office news release said. “A human skull was found outside. Bones were found in a burn barrel. Bones were found in a box under the mobile home. A revolver was found in the main house. An ax, a broken sword, and knives were found in the mobile home.”
“I would never imagine that we would find or have someone living in Lancaster County capable of doing these kind of things,” Sheriff Barry Faile said. “I just wouldn’t believe it. Probably one of the worst cases I’ve experienced in my 28 years.”
The sheriff said he talked with Steele’s family. “You can only imagine what they are going through,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, and certainly we want to do all we can to bring some closure for them.”
The woman who reported the crime told deputies that another person told her a homicide had occurred weeks ago.
“We love you, and we’re gonna miss you, and we’re sorry we wasn’t there,” Jillian Yarbrough, one of Steele’s extended family members, said Friday.
Yarbrough said she didn’t know much about the couple but knew that Steele lived with them.
She said she and other family will hold a vigil at 6 p.m. Saturday where Steele died.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 803-283-3388 or Midlands Crimestoppers at 888-274-6372.
WBTV is a news partner of The Charlotte Observer.