Elderly sisters murdered in Bamberg County

By: Domonique Benn
By: Domonique Benn

Two elderly sisters have been murdered in their home in Bamberg County.

It happened at 2502 Heritage Highway, in a rural part of the county.

While family members are trying to understand why someone would kill an 89 year old and a 75 year old, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division has someone they want to question.

It's double murder mystery in a small town.

Late Sunday night, May 7, the home at 2502 Heritage Highway turned into a crime scene investigation.

Catherine Barnwell went to check on her 89-year-old mother-in-law, Netha Barnwell, and found Netha's body, along with the body of Netha's sister, 75-year-old Louise Smith.

"I came back out and I couldn't stay there and call, so I came back home and I told my daughter to call 911," she says.

It appeared the two had been beaten to death with an object...something that family members are trying to come to terms with.

"I don't want to believe that this happened," says Netha's son Carl. "I'm still out of it."

Family members say whoever committed these murders possibly knew the two women because there was no forced entry.

"She had to know the suspect, because she wouldn't let them in the house. They didn't break in. They was let in," Carl says.

Family members tried calling the two women all day Sunday. Carl Barnwell even went by for Sunday dinner.

He assumed when he saw his mother's car was gone that she went to run errands.

Now he believes the two were in the home all along, while the suspect used his mother's car to get away.

"They was there at that time," he says. "At that time they were probably dead."

"I knocked at the door, it was locked, so I sat on the porch for a few minutes 'cause the utility room was open and I thought she would be back home soon," Catherine says.

Netha Barnwell just celebrated her 89th birthday a week ago...and now SLED is trying to find out who robbed her of seeing her 90th.

"There was no other woman like my mama," Carl says.

SLED has a person of interest they want to talk to. His name is Charlie Beard.

He is a black male, 6'1", 250 pounds, and has a white birthmark on his chin. He was last seen with a clean-shaven head.

SLED agents believe he is driving the victim's black 1994, 2-door Toyota Camry, South Carolina license plate number 512 NXA.

If you see Charlie Beard or the car, do not approach him.

Call SLED at 803-896-7000 or your local law enforcement agency.


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