Crime & Courts

Sheriff: Body found in S.C. likely missing woman

S.C. authorities at the scene where a body was found Friday.
S.C. authorities at the scene where a body was found Friday. WBTV

Chesterfield County sheriff's deputies say a body found in Pageland Friday afternoon is likely a missing woman deputies were looking for.

Sheriff Jay Brooks said they were looking for Ternetha Ann Bennett since Tuesday when she was reported missing.

“We have been all over this county, run down every lead,” Brooks said. “I’m glad this part of it is done. I hate it for the family. It’s very sad. So sad and useless.”

Brooks said around lunch-time Friday a mail carrier was on Crossroads Church Road when she smelled a strong odor and spotted buzzards. She called police.

“We found a shallow grave about 60 yards off this dirt road and called SLED’s forensic unit in,” Brooks said. “We did find and remove a human body. It appeared to be an African-American female and the clothing is very similar to the description of the victim we had been looking for since Monday night.”

Chesterfield County’s coroner said as of Friday night, he had not made a 100 percent identification. He said an autopsy was set for Saturday.

Brooks said he suspects the victim may be Bennett, and that the body appears to have been there for days.

“We have no idea where she was killed. We have no idea what killed her,” Brooks said. “We have no idea where any of this happened. Only thing we do know is where we found her today.”

Deputies said Bennett’s family has been notified about what they found.

Meanwhile, investigators say they’re trying to locate Bennett’s boyfriend, William Lazar Grant.

Investigators said Grant and Lazar were seen together late Monday night outside his step mother’s house, which is not far from where the victim’s body was found.

Police said Grant told them he and Bennett got into an argument then went their separate ways. No one saw Bennett after that.

According to detectives, Grant was seen between 11:30 Monday night and 3 a.m. Tuesday on surveillance cameras in town, including at a car wash.

“That’s why we need to speak with him desperately. We have not been able to find Mr Grant,” Brooks said. “He is a very strong suspect in this case and we have a warrant for arrest for an unrelated case.”

Brooks said a 30-person task force in four teams is looking for Bennett.

Brooks is asking anyone with information to call the Pageland Police Department or the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office.

WBTV is a news partner of The Charlotte Observer