Crime & Courts

Missing Midlands woman killed from gunshot wound to the head, according to coroner

Suzette Ginther
Suzette Ginther

The missing Sumter woman whose dead body was discovered in a wooded area Thursday was shot to death, according to the coroner.

Suzette Ginther, 27, died of a gunshot wound to the head, according to Sumter County Coroner Robert Baker, who performed an autopsy Saturday.

“It’s a homicide,” Baker said.

Ginther, 27, was reported missing Thursday, according to the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office. Her body was found by a hunter in Manchester State Forest near Camp Burnt Gin.

Sumter County Sheriff’s Office public information officer Ken Bell said law enforcement was fortunate that the hunter discovered Ginther’s body.

The hunter had been in the remote area of the state forest looking for places to set up cameras, Bell said. He visited the area prior to Thursday and noticed a sizable hole had been dug up, something that had not been done by an animal.

When the hunter returned to set up the cameras on Thursday, he saw the hole had been covered over, and immediately alerted law enforcement, according to Bell.

“The hunter saved us from having a missing person for months or years,” Bell said, noting the area where Ginther’s body was found is surrounded by swamps and near a sewage spillway.

Discovering the body so soon helps the investigation, said Bell, adding SLED is performing forensic tests. Two shell casings were also discovered near the body.

Ginther’s vehicle was also recovered near where her body was discovered, which is about 5 or 6 miles from her residence, according to Bell.

It’s possible that Ginther was alive when she was taken to where her body was discovered, and shot to death at that scene, said Bell. The spot where Ginther was found is about 150 yards from the end of a dirt road, and she might have been made to walk to the location rather than killed elsewhere and dumped in that spot.

Ginther was reported missing after failing to make it to work Thursday.

She worked at the PetSmart on Garners Ferry Road, according to Bell, adding concerned co-workers called Ginther’s live-in boyfriend when she failed to show up for work.

After being alerted Ginther never made it to work, her boyfriend called law enforcement and reported her missing, Bell said. The boyfriend is the last person who reported seeing Ginther before her body was discovered.

Bell said the boyfriend last saw Ginther when he left to take her two children to school. The children’s father was alerted she was missing by law enforcement, which confirmed Ginther had custody of the kids.

No arrests have been made, according to the sheriff’s office. The investigation is ongoing and SLED is assisting the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office.

Anyone with information is asked to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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