When news broke that Rex Heuermann — the alleged Long Island Serial Killer — had ties to South Carolina, every journalist in the area began looking at unsolved cases involving petite, caucasian women under the age of thirty-five, (the murderer’s target demographic).
But in narrowing down search results in the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) database – zeroing in on individuals potentially tied to this high-profile case – we realized this was a much bigger story. We quickly learned the quest for answers in the Heuermann story was just one small part of a broader “search history” – one that shouldn’t be limited by race, age, gender or physical characteristics.
Or by the passage of time …
The number of missing persons and unsolved cases is America is absolutely astounding. Nationwide, there are more than 23,505 open cases – including 831 in the Carolinas. Every single one of these stories involves a family or group of friends desperately seeking answers – waiting for a knock on the door that will bring them closure. Or justice.
Or … a miracle.
These are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, daughters and sons. Aunts, uncles … teachers, pastors, co-workers. And while the cases of their missing loved ones may not be tied to an internationally famous serial killer … they still matter.
Accordingly, while we continue to investigate various Palmetto State connections to Heuermann – and victims whose profiles match those of the Long Island Serial Killer – count on us to share the stories that aren’t in the headlines.
Stories like these …
DANIEL JAY FOOLS
If we limit our search criteria to women, we omit the case of 20-year old Daniel Jay Fools – who went missing on January 7, 1984 near Manning, South Carolina.
“Danny never returned home to pick up personal belongings and never showed up at work to pick up his paycheck,” a missing persons Facebook page noted. “His tools were located at a local pawn shop.”
Fools’ red, two-door 1983 Ford Thunderbird was located in a wooded area at the end of a “lonely dirt road” about three miles from his home a week later. The hood of the vehicle was open, his keys were on top of the car and his glasses were on the drivers’ seat.
News reports at the time indicated there was “blood on the seat” – but nothing to indicate there had been a struggle.
SARAH BOYD, KIM BOYD & LINDA McCORD
Narrowing our search results to ethnicity would neglect smiling face of 32-year old Sarah W. Boyd – who disappeared from Walterboro, S.C. on the evening of April 3, 1987 after attending a gospel concert. Traveling with Boyd? Her two-year-old daughter Kimberly Boyd and her friend, Linda McCord.
Last seen driving through Dorchester County en route to their Orangeburg County home, they were traveling in a blue Lincoln belonging to McCord’s husband. That vehicle was found disabled and abandoned two days later near the intersection of Highways 15 and 176.
Despite intensive searches of the area and offers of a cash reward, the occupants of the Lincoln haven’t been seen or heard from since.
Kimberly Boyd’s credit card was used several years later at a local mall, but the signature on the receipt was not hers – and police were unable to ascertain the identity of the person who used it.
CASI ANN POGUE
If we limit our search history to people under the age of thirty-five, we would miss the story of Casi Ann Pogue — who disappeared on July 5, 2020 after being discharged from Greenville Memorial Hospital in South Carolina.
Casi’s family created a Facebook page dedicated to finding her called Casi Come Home. When asked if there were any updates in her case, her cousin Trina Burns said the family has hired a private investigator and they are still pursuing leads. Frustrated with the lack of progress in the case, Trina decided to enroll in school majoring in criminal justice. She is in the process of becoming a private investigator in South Carolina.
“I know if the tables were turned, Casi would have done the same thing if it meant she could do more,” she said.
If we limit our search history to women under 130 pounds, we (narrowly) miss the story of 39-year old Deborah Robertson – who hasn’t been seen since January 14, 1995.
Deborah was witnessed jumping out of a taxi cab traveling west on Highway 501 towards Conway, S.C. – falling into an area between today’s Carolina Forest Boulevard and Myrtle Ridge Road. Witnesses said they saw her rolling onto the side of the road, then running north into the woods after getting up.
Police and fire rescue personnel searched the area but never located her.
In so many of these cases, the initial headlines grab our attention – often consuming us for days on end. But when answers don’t come swiftly, the spotlight fades. Loved ones are left to collect leads and pursue justice via Facebook groups and pages – literally begging for closure.
We know … because we cover so many of these stories and see it happen.
Again, Unsolved Carolinas is a new series by FITSNews devoted to shining a spotlight on cases that have fallen off the front page. We hope to tell the stories of those individuals who are seeking answers and justice on behalf of their loved ones. We will dive deeper into their stories, get to know them through their families and friends and hopefully, help find answers for those they have left behind.
In every unsolved case, someone out there could know something that provides a missing link – a critical clue that could bring peace to a family in pain and help them write the next chapter of their stories (even if it is the final chapter). If you know someone who is missing – or has been a victim of an unsolved homicide – email their story to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The more stories we share, the more hope we can spread …
ABOUT THE AUTHOR …
Jenn Wood is FITSNews’ incomparable research director. She’s also the producer of the FITSFiles and Cheer Incorporated podcasts and leading expert on all things Murdaugh/ South Carolina justice. A former private investigator with a criminal justice degree, evildoers beware, Jenn Wood is far from your average journalist! A deep dive researcher with a passion for truth and a heart for victims, this mom of two is pretty much a superhero in FITSNews country. Did we mention she’s married to a rocket scientist? (Lucky guy!) Got a story idea or a tip for Jenn? Email her at email@example.com.
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