A church volunteer killed in an apartment fire set by an arsonist, a teenager shot and burned near a shopping mall, and a man found in a shallow grave after a handwritten note led police to his whereabouts.
They are among the Midlands residents whose killers have not been brought to justice and whose deaths this year remain under investigation by law enforcement.
The State took a look back at unsolved homicides in Richland, Lexington and Kershaw counties from 2017, and what investigators know about each case.
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Adam Ray Davis, 35, was last seen the night of Dec. 29, 2016, at a bar in the Bethune area of Kershaw County.
On Jan. 2, 2017, the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office took over what was then a missing persons case. However, Sheriff Jim Matthews said his office in March received an anonymous handwritten note with the coordinates of where Davis’ body might be.
Deputies found Davis’ body in a shallow grave in a wooded area of Lee County, Matthews said. He died of a gunshot wound to the head.
Matthews said his office has a “considerable” amount of evidence, and he has talked with prosecutors about filing charges.
“We have not had the authorization to obtain (warrants),” he said. “We have some persons of interest but nobody is talking. We need somebody who can provide us with a couple of missing pieces to the puzzle.”
David “John Jr.” Washington
David Washington, 57, was injured when multiple shots were fired into his Sumter Street home in West Columbia on Jan. 8, according to the Lexington County Sheriff’s Department.
Washington, who was known as “John Jr.,” died Jan. 27 at a local hospital.
There has been no word on a motive for Washington’s killing. Investigators believe several people have information that could provide a major break in the case, and encouraged them to come forward.
True Dent Henderson, 80, died of smoke inhalation in a fire at her apartment in the Hollywood-Rose Hill area of Columbia on Jan. 29.
The fire broke out late that Sunday night and destroyed one of five buildings at Plantation Court Apartments on South Saluda Avenue, just off Rosewood Drive.
Columbia Police Department investigators ruled Henderson’s death a homicide after determining the fire was intentionally set.
The fatal blaze followed a rash of smaller fires in the Rosewood area that the Columbia Fire Department said were intentionally set. A Columbia firefighter was initially named a person of interest in Henderson’s killing, but police later cleared him.
Family members said Henderson called in a fire that was set at the complex a month earlier, but they don’t believe she was targeted.
Keon Malik Brantley, 18, was found shot and burned April 15 in the Harbison area of Lexington County.
Columbia firefighters had responded to a fire call on the 200 block of Columbiana Drive, near Columbiana Centre, when they found Brantley’s burned body in the parking lot of Paces Brook Apartments, officials said at the time. An autopsy showed the teen died of a gunshot wound.
Surveillance footage provided by the sheriff’s department showed Brantley leaving his apartment around 9 p.m. and carrying a large box that contained an AK-47 rifle. Lexington County investigators say several personal items the teen had with him on the video were missing when his body was found, including a hooded sweatshirt, a backpack and a pair of size 8 Nike Air Foamposites.
“Those items are important in our investigation because they were not recovered by first responders when they arrived on the scene,” Capt. Adam Myrick said at the time. “We are urging anyone who has seen those items, who has heard any discussion, talk, chatter about those items to call Crimestoppers.”
Torance Peoples and Trevonne Judge
Torance Lamar Peoples, 26, and Trevonne Judge, 23, were shot dead outside a Richland County nightclub in the early hours of Dec. 20.
Peoples and Judge were celebrating Peoples’ birthday at Black Pearl on Broad River Road and were involved in a shootout in the club’s parking lot around 3 a.m., officials have said. A fight between two groups, reportedly over strippers and money, prompted the deadly shootout, Sheriff Leon Lott has said.
Two other men were injured. Deputies have arrested two people in connection with the shooting who are cooperating with investigators; however, no charges have been filed in connection with the deaths of Peoples annd Judge.
Anyone with information on any of these cases is asked to call Crimestoppers of the Midlands at 888-CRIME-SC.