Crime & Courts

Missing South Carolina Paramedic Found Dead

“A tragic end …”

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A South Carolina emergency responder who had been missing for several days was found dead in Dillon County on Friday evening, authorities in neighboring Marion County are confirming. Meanwhile, across the country, a manhunt is still underway in the hopes of capturing an accused cop killer who who was traveling in her stolen vehicle.

Phonesia Machado-Fore, 52, had been missing from the Pee Dee region of the Palmetto State since Wednesday (March 13, 2024).

“The Marion County sheriff’s office regrets to report a tragic end to the missing person’s case of Phonesia Machado-Fore,” a statement from sheriff Brian Wallace noted.

(Click to View)

Phonesia Machado-Fore (Facebook)

As efforts to locate Machado-Fore ramped up, her vehicle was located nearly 1,400 miles across the country – at the scene of the graphic murder of a New Mexico law enforcement officer.

At approximately 5:00 a.m. MDT on Friday (March 15, 2024), officer Justin Hare of the New Mexico State Police (NMSP) was dispatched to assist the driver of a disabled white 2011 BMW 335i on Interstate 40 – approximately nine miles southwest of Tucumcari, New Mexico.

The BMW – which bore a specialty South Carolina emergency services license tag – had a flat tire on the rear of the driver’s side of the vehicle. The driver, 33-year-old Jaremy Smith of Marion, S.C., was observed attempting to flag down passing motorists.

As Hare attempted to assist Smith, the career criminal “without warning pulled out a firearm” and shot him, according to New Mexico police chief Troy Weisler.

While New Mexico police searched for Smith, authorities in South Carolina were informed of the discovery of Machado-Fore’s vehicle at the crime scene. As they investigated her disappearance, information led them to a property near Lake View, S.C. – a town of approximately 720 people located two miles south of the North Carolina border in Dillon County.

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News of the discovery of a body in Dillon County was first reported by Tonya Brown of WPDE TV-15 (ABC – Florence/ Myrtle Beach, S.C.).

The body – later identified as Machado-Fore was discovered at approximately 6:15 p.m. EDT on Friday. An autopsy has been scheduled for this coming Monday (March 18, 2024) in Dillon, S.C.

“This case is far from over,” sheriff Wallace noted. “Mrs. Fore was one of us, a fellow first responder. Her death is senseless. Our community has suffered a tremendous loss. My team and I will not stop until we bring the person or persons responsible for her death to justice.”

According to Wallace, “federal, state, and local officials continue to investigate this heinous crime.”

As previously reported, Smith has been charged in New Mexico with first degree murder, armed robbery, shooting at or from a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence, felon in possession of a firearm, unlawful taking of a motor vehicle, and criminal damage to property in connection with officer Hare’s murder.

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Smith has a lengthy rap sheet in South Carolina and neighboring Georgia – including a 2014 prison escape in Marion County and a stint in the S.C. Department of Corrections (SCDC). Our media outlet is in the process of reviewing those charges and preparing a follow-up report on his history of violent crime.

According to updates from New Mexico law enforcement, Smith was last seen on foot on the I-40 Frontage Road at milepost 304 between Montoya and Newkirk, New Mexico – approximately fifteen miles from the location of Hare’s murder. He was wearing a brown hoodie and a jacket.

“Smith is considered armed and dangerous and should not be approached,” NMSP warned.

Those who encounter him are encouraged to call 9-1-1 or contact NMSP at 505-425-6771.

UPDATE |

Smith is in custody.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR …

(Travis Bell Photography)

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 and before that he was a bass guitarist and dive bar bouncer. He lives in the Midlands region of the state with his wife and eight children.

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3 comments

Observer (the real one) March 16, 2024 at 1:08 pm

I had a feeling there would not be good news on this lady’s disappearance. Hopefully, the POS will be terminated before he can harm anyone else.

Reply
tamara rhodes Top fan March 16, 2024 at 4:49 pm

Florence County EMS has been hit hard the last several years w/ full on tragedy. This is just one more. Why was this guy out of jail w/ the history of violent crime that he has?

Reply
Goody3 Top fan March 17, 2024 at 3:22 pm

Condolences to this lady’s family and friends. Just another senseless death. RIP.

Reply

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