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What we know about Edgefield County murder victim, suspect

From left: Brandi Bearden and Austin Randolph
From left: Brandi Bearden and Austin Randolph(WRDW)
Published: Oct. 25, 2021 at 8:51 AM EDT|Updated: Oct. 25, 2021 at 11:12 AM EDT
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MODOC, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - The Edgefield County Coroner’s Office on Monday released the name of a homicide victim found dead on the side of a road over the weekend.

The body of Brandi Bearden, 32, of Trenton, was found around 2:30 p.m. Sunday in the area of Red Oak Grove Road and Highway 23 a couple of miles west of Modoc and just inside Edgefield County. Passers-by reported finding the body on the shoulder of the road.

Deputies said they are investigating it as a homicide and a suspect is in custody.

The circumstances of the killing are still under investigation, according to authorities.

They offered more details about the case during an informal news conference late Monday morning.

Those details included the suspect’s name: Austin Randolph, 30, of Trenton. Deputies say he was quickly apprehended without incident in the Clearwater area of Aiken County.

Authorities say he’s e’s charged with murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and larceny less than $2,000.

Asked if the suspect had a crime history, sheriff’s Capt. Jason Ramey said without explanation: “There is a history here with the sheriff’s office, not necessarily criminal.”

Family members, witnesses and other resources were used to apprehend the suspect, authorities said.

Deputies also said they believed a firearm was involved in the slaying, stating that a gun was found in the suspect’s vehicle.

Just before Bearden’s body was reported, deputies had been called to a nearby location in the 2800 block of Highway 23 “in reference to a stolen firearm,” according to the sheriff’s agency’s written report on the incident.

According to the report, Bearden appeared to have wounds on her leg and face.

They stressed that the official cause of death will come later from the coroner.

An autopsy for Bearden is scheduled for Tuesday in Newberry.

Bearden’s family issued this written statement:

“Brandi Bearden was a beautiful, faith believing, loving and sweet Daughter, Sister and Auntie! She enjoyed life and was loved by her relatives and friends. She will truly be missed. The family would like to thank everyone for all your prayers and love shown to the family during this unexpected time.”

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