The investigation into the deaths of two men found in a burning pickup in western York County has been turned over to the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office.
“It is a case from Cherokee County,” said Trent Faris, York County Sheriff’s Office spokesman. “That is all I can comment on now.”
Authorities in Cherokee County said the men were killed sometime over the past few days. Their bodies were then moved to York County.
An official with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office confirmed the fire is related to a call that began in Cherokee County but declined to provide more information, saying it was “an active crime scene.”
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A passerby saw a fire in a wooded area off Bonner Horton Road in Hickory Grove just after 11:30 p.m. Thursday, Faris said. The witness went for a closer look and realized it was a pickup that was on fire. Two people were found inside.
The York County coroner’s office confirmed the deaths and said SLED is assisting the investigation.
The victims names have not been released.
People in the community recently created a watch group after incidents along the road, a neighbor told reporter The Herald’s news partner WSOC-TV. There are not any homes near the woods where the truck was found, the neighbor said.
Jeff Crawford said the isolated area and thick woods provide many places for people to hide.
“They have plenty of turn offs and most are gated, but some are open,” Crawford said. “They can hide anything.”
Officials have not released additional details about the people found in the truck.
In the past decade police in York County and Chester County have had several incidents of killings that happened in other places yet the bodies were found in York County.
In 2009, two North Carolina women were found dead in northwestern York County near the Gaston County, N.C. line, including one of the women found burned in Kings Mountain State Park. Danny Hembree of Gastonia was convicted and sentenced to death after a trial in North Carolina for the crimes, but the convictions were recently overturned and a new trial ordered. Hembree remains in jail.
On Vista Road in Fort Mill, tucked off busy Pleasant Road not far from the Mecklenburg County, N.C. line, at least four bodies have been found in the past decade. One of those bodies was burned. Police said one of the victims was from Charlotte who had been killed there and dumped.
In 2008 in Chester County police found the body of a teenaged Union County cheerleader in a burned car. Police and prosecutors in that case, as in the current case - found that the homicide happened west of the Broad River that is the western boundary for both York and Chester County with neighboring Cherokee and Union counties.
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