It seems everyone in Dillon, South Carolina knew about the origins of the relationship between 54-year-old Wendy Cook – the principal of Stewart Heights elementary school – and 31-year-old Kyle Church. In small towns, you can’t expect secrets like that to hold.
For now, it will suffice to say the two were lovers … and had been for some time.
While the roots of their romance remains the stuff of rumor (for now), the abrupt conclusion of their relationship has become headline news far beyond this town of 6,200 – located just south of the North Carolina border off of Interstate 95.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, August 21, 2022, Church allegedly shot and killed Cook on his mother’s property on Southwind Road approximately two miles south of Dillon. He has since been charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime – and is currently being held at the Dillon County detention center pending a bond hearing before a S.C. circuit court judge.
As with anyone accused of committing any crime, Church is considered innocent until proven guilty by our criminal justice system. His case – which will likely attract significant national attention – will be tried by the office of S.C. fourth circuit solicitor William B. Rogers Jr.
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So far, Dillon County sheriff’s deputies have merely acknowledged that Cook (above) and Church were “friends.” There has been no discussion of the extent of their relationship – nor has there been any discussion of a possible motive for the killing.
So … what happened?
This news outlet has received reports from multiple sources familiar with the shooting – and those involved in it – and will be interviewing several additional sources familiar with the situation soon. We are also in the process of submitting Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests seeking all available information related to the shooting – including Church’s frantic 9-1-1 call.
Just days before the shooting, Cook was preparing for another school year at Stewart Heights – where students reported for their first day of classes on August 15, 2022.
“I hope you have had a peaceful and relaxing summer,” she wrote in a back-to-school note to parents earlier this month. “It really has gone by quickly.”
Cook had been employed by the district for a quarter century at the time of her death.
Cook’s funeral has been scheduled for tomorrow (Wednesday, August 24, 2022) at 5:00 p.m. EDT at the Cooper Funeral Home in Dillon.
Stay tuned for much more information on this case as our investigation begins …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Will Folks is the founding editor of the news outlet you are currently reading. Prior to founding FITSNews, he served as press secretary to the governor of South Carolina. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and seven children.
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