Family pleads for justice after Saluda County slaying

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Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 11:54 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 22, 2022 at 1:45 PM EST
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SALUDA, S.C. - The suspicious death of a 22-year-old Saluda County man has been ruled a homicide, and his family is torn with heartache over it.

The Saluda County Coroner’s Office said the autopsy Tuesday morning revealed that he died of a gunshot wound.

A hunter discovered Zonnie Cyrus’ body on Hiland Farm Road in Saluda County off Padgett Pond Road and about four miles from the Monetta Drive-In Theatre.

The dirt road where Cyrus’ body was found just after 11 a.m. Saturday is on private property, and the nearest home is about a third of a mile away.


The slaying is among the latest in a surge of killings that’s claimed more than 50 lives in communities large and small across the region since spring.

“We’re going to work to the fullest extent, everything this office can do to bring justice to this victim and find out who did this,” Saluda County Sheriff Joshua Price said.

He called the incident a tragedy and said he is praying for the Cyrus family.

‘How can you do that to somebody?’

Brittney Cyrus, Zonnie’s cousin, said she never expected to receive the call that she got this weekend.

She said the loss of her cousin has been eating her up inside, but she is putting her faith and trust in God, hoping to get some answers.

“How could somebody do that to a human being, a child at that?” Brittney said. “He was only 22 years old. How can you do that to somebody? I mean, nobody in this world is perfect, nobody ain’t in this world that’s bright, and that’s going to have all the answers, but the way I look at it, it is hurting and it’s like I never thought in a million years that I would have to go through this.”

Brittney said Zonnie was a good person, always smiling, and willing to drop anything to help friends and family.

She added that he was very passionate about his job at Amick Farms.

“To me, I can’t say R.I.P. to my cousin yet until we got closure all the way,” Brittney said. “And I’m going take my shades off and I want you all to see what you all did to me, and how me and his brother, his daddy feeling. Like y’all really took somebody that I cared about the most and I stayed on top of him to try to keep him focused. And I was proud of him.”

Brittney said she last spoke with Zonnie on Thursday.

“You told me you love me and I loved you back,” she said.

Brittney is asking the community for help.

“To be talking about my cousin like this and the way how he was dead, it hurts so bad,” she said. “I’m just pleading for anybody that knows anything, just come forward, help my family to get some closure and so we could be at ease and at peace.”