A couple found dead in their Jonesville home Monday night were shot and stabbed, and investigators had little go on in finding their killer Tuesday.
Union County Sheriff David Taylor said Gretchen Dawn Parker, 51, and her husband, Charles Marvin Parker, 59, were found on separate couches in their home at 2809 Furman Fendley Highway.
Taylor said during a press conference in Jonesville Tuesday that Gretchen Parker had been shot in the chest and stabbed in the chest and abdomen. Charles Parker had been shot in the neck and chest, and also stabbed multiple times. The gunshot wounds proved fatal, according to the autopsies.
Investigators believe the Parkers were killed sometime on Sunday, Taylor said. It took longer than usual to identify who they were, because they had moved from York County several years ago and did not have immediate family in Union.
A call from a concerned neighbor led deputies to the discovery of the two bodies about at 8:45 p.m. Monday. The case is being investigated as a double homicide, Taylor said.
A forensics unit from the State Law Enforcement Division arrived during the night to assist in gathering evidence at the home and was still at the scene Tuesday.
A neighbor went by the home at about 6 p.m. and didn’t get an answer at the door. The neighbor, who wanted Charles Parker to fix his car, went to the home two more times over the next couple of hours, and called 911 about 8 p.m.
The first deputy to arrive found the back door open but was unable to get past seven Chihuahuas and Feist dogs. Every time deputies tried to go near the bodies, the dogs growled and would not let them approach. “The dogs would not let us get to the bodies at first,” Taylor said Monday night. “They were protective of the victims. We had to call Animal Control.”
Animal Control seized the dogs, along with about seven puppies.
In total, nine dogs were found at the home, including another dog found under a couch on Tuesday morning, Taylor said. Cats and chickens were also running loose inside the house.
The bodies were taken to Newberry for autopsies. Taylor said investigators noted the stab wounds Monday night, but the autopsies revealed the gunshot wounds.
As of Tuesday afternoon, Taylor said investigators have been unable to determine a motive and had no leads. “We don’t think robbery was a motive,” he said. There was nothing indicating that a struggle took place inside the house, and it’s possible that the Parkers may have known their attacker since there was no sign of forced entry, Taylor said.
Charles Parker was considered a “shade tree” mechanic and worked on cars at his home. A rusty sign in front of the home read “Parker’s Garage, auto and small engine repairs.”
Sheriff’s deputies stood by at the home Tuesday. Cars and tractor-trailers rushed past on Highway 176 but the yard and home were quiet. There were trucks, lawn mowers, at least one motorcycle and other junked items in the yard in front of the house. A Confederate flag flew on a post out front.
At least three “No trespassing” signs were posted on trees in the yard, along with a yellow sign stating, “Smile, you’re on camera.” Taylor would not comment on whether there were actually surveillance cameras posted at the home.
The Parkers had a roommate living with them recently, and he came to the home on Tuesday. Taylor said he is not considered a suspect.
Taylor said the incident was the first double homicide in Union County since he’s been sheriff. He said he’s been asked whether there was a threat to the community as a whole.
“Anytime you have dead bodies, and you don’t know who did it, it’s a threat,” he said.
Taylor urged anyone with information about the case may call the Union County Sheriff’s Office at 864-429-1611 or CrimeStoppers at 864-427-0800.