Law enforcement agencies in the South Carolina Lowcountry are investigating a homicide/ arson incident in the Green Pond area of Colleton County that has left multiple people dead and at least one person hospitalized, sources familiar with the situation have confirmed to this news outlet.
Details of what transpired – and the names of the victims – have yet to be released. As of this writing, all we know is the incident was called in at approximately 11:00 a.m. EDT at 779 Folly Creek Lane in Green Pond – and that as many as half a dozen souls are “deceased” following a reported “house fire” at that address.
A seventh victim was also reportedly airlifted to a local hospital in the aftermath of the incident. That individual is said to be in critical condition.
Initial reports received by this news outlet indicate a “stabbing/ arson situation,” although law enforcement officials have yet to confirm those accounts.
At approximately 6:12 p.m. EDT, the Colleton County sheriff’s office released a statement announcing it had launched a “murder investigation” tied to the reported house fire. According to that statement, 33-year-old Ryan Lenard Manigo had been arrested and charged with one count of attempted murder in connection with that investigation.
“Additional charges are pending the victim’s identification and autopsy results,” the release stated.
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At approximately 6:16 p.m. EDT, the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) issued a statement regarding its role in the investigation.
“SLED was requested today by the Colleton County Sheriff’s Office to assist in an arson and death investigation involving seven victims,” the statement from the agency’s director of public information Renée Wunderlich noted. “Six victims are deceased, and one victim was transported to the hospital for medical treatment. The SLED Arson Unit, SLED Crime Scene Unit (and) agents with SLED’s Low Country Region, and SLED’s Special Victim’s Unit (SVU) are responding. This is an active and ongoing investigation, thus no further details from SLED are available at this time.”
Both agencies stressed the ongoing nature of the investigation, with Colleton County urging anyone who has any information related to the crime to contact the sheriff’s office at 843-529-2211.
While investigators continue their work, this news outlet has uncovered several prior incidents involving Manigo.
The accused killer has an extensive rap sheet in the S.C. fourteenth judicial circuit including arrests for kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary and criminal sexual conduct. Several of those charges were dismissed by the office of embattled S.C. fourteenth circuit solicitor Duffie Stone.
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Specifically, a 2008 burglary charge was categorized as “dismissed – not indicted.” In 2010, Manigo pleaded guilty to an armed robbery charge and was sentenced to fifteen years in prison by S.C. circuit court judge Perry Buckner. Most of that sentence was suspended, however, and Manigo spent less than three years in the custody of the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC) – from March 31, 2011 to August 1, 2013.
He was released to probation in Colleton County.
It didn’t take long after his release for Manigo to once again run afoul of the law – which should have resulted in him being sent back to jail. As is so often the case in the Palmetto State, though, accountability was elusive. His 2015 kidnapping charge was not prosecuted by Stone’s office – and a 2017 arrest for criminal sexual conduct was listed as “no billed.”
Green Pond is an unincorporated area of approximately 245 square miles encompassing the lower fifth of Colleton County – with its northern boundary beginning approximately ten miles south of Walterboro, S.C. Home to numerous plantations, the area was named by settlers of the Revolutionary War-era for its stagnant pools of water in which green algae bloomed. Green Pond contains an estimated 2,100 inhabitants, according to the latest census data.
Count on this news outlet to keep our audience up to speed on the latest developments in this case as it continues to unfold …
UPDATE | Bond hearing scheduled …
UPDATE II | A recap of the latest developments …
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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