Family of SC hit-and-run victim pleads for answers 9 months later

If you have any information, the family encourages you to call Crimestoppers of the Midlands at 1-888-CRIME-SC or 1-888-274-6372.

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Thursday, March 21, 2013

AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW) -- Betty and Merrill Batten have come here to South Carolina from their home in St. Augustine, Fla., to look for answers they desperately need.

"Someone must know something somewhere, because something this tragic -- it just couldn't be done by one person, I don't think," said Merrill to News 12.

Nine months ago, a fun family hunting trip in Allendale County turned memorable for the wrong reason. Their son, 36-year-old Andreu Batten, left their camper for a late-night walk.

"My husband woke up around 4:30 in the morning and noticed he wasn't in his bed, so he went out looking for him," Betty said. "They called the authorities, and they said that they had found him almost 9 miles from the hunting club."

What troopers found was an unusual scene. Besides that fact that is was so far away from the campground, there were no signs of a struggle. No signs of vehicle debris, either. The only thing they found was Andreu's lifeless body lying near the intersection of Revolutionary Trail and Feed Lot Road, which is less than a mile away from the Allendale County Sheriff's Office.

"We think, perhaps, that he got run over some place else and was placed where we found him," Merrill said.

The South Carolina Highway Patrol has no current leads, but now, they're helping the family stir up new ones.

Andreu, who's described by his family as a Christian dedicated to community service, left behind his parents, a wife of 12 years and four kids, including a 2-year-old.

"And he calls for his daddy every day," Betty said. "Because he doesn't understand, you know, where his daddy is."

Over the next few days, before heading back to Florida, Betty and Merrill will be back in Allendale passing out fliers, while hoping that someone somewhere will know something to help.

Of course, they say no matter how small the tip is, it could be very helpful. They plan to walk to route he probably did that night to see if neighbors along that road heard anything.

If you have any information, the family encourages you to call Crimestoppers of the Midlands at 1-888-CRIME-SC or 1-888-274-6372.

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