While many people were able to enjoy the fireworks over the weekend, residents of Cherokee County, South Carolina were forced into their homes in fear with their doors tightly locked. The Fourth of July was cancelled indefinitely.
Investigators have been on the hunt for a serial killer.
A sketch was released Friday of a man that has been believed to have fatally shot four people in less than a week near Gaffney, South Carolina. The man is believed to be white and in his 40’s with salt and pepper hair, standing about 6’2, according to investigators.
Police believe that the death of Abby Leigh Tyler, 15, could be deemed the fifth victim of the killer. She died in the hospital on Saturday after being fatally wounded two days earlier. He father, Stephen Tyler, 48, was shot dead Thursday after closing their family’s furniture and appliance shop, Tyler Home Center.
The string of murders began Saturday, June 27, when the wife of a 63-year old peach farmer, Kline Cash, was found dead in their home. Last Wednesday, 83-year-old Hazel Linder and her 50-year-old daughter, Gena Linder Parker, were found by relatives bound and shot to death at the home of Linder.
Cherokee County Sheriff Bill Blanton stated that there has been enough evidence compiled to link the murders, but not enough has been gathered to determine how the victim are connected or if they were aware of who shot them or if these are just random occurrences. The killings have all taken place within a 10 mile radius in Cherokee County.
To anticipate the fear that residents were feeling, the local sheriff has advised that salesmen that knock doo-to-door to avoid doing so on the Fourth of July. The warning has also been delivered to motorists who break down on local roads. They have been advised to stay idle and not venture to homes for help due to people reacting to anything that they deem suspicious and may react in retaliation.
Police vehicles lined the streets on the holiday and police officers gathered from across the state to the rural county that populates 54,000 people. Checkpoints were set-up throughout the county and all vehicles were stopped that resembled the silver 1991 to 1994 model Ford Explorer that is believed to be the killer’s vehicle according to authorities.
The case is being handled with close to 100 investigators from North and South Carolina.