Investigators believe a 79-year-old man whose body was discovered on the side of a road in rural Berkeley County Sunday was murdered.

Artie Carroll Bradley of Moncks Corner was found by a road in the Francis Marion National Forest by a man and his wife about 3:30 p.m. Sunday, according to Coroner Bill Salisbury. His body was near Bonneau Road about a mile from his house, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dan Moon said. An autopsy will be conducted to determine how Bradley was killed.

The news of Bradley’s death stunned his friends. The retired father of two grown daughters was a regular at Hardee’s restaurant most mornings, where he and friends would gather to drink coffee and shoot the breeze.

Folks there knew him as an easy-going fellow who was nice to all. Friends said they can think of no one who would have wanted to harm Bradley.

“He was just a good guy, absolutely harmless,” friend Delmar Cole said. “What kind of animal would so something like that to him?”

Bradley grew up in St. Stephen but had lived in Moncks Corner for the better part of a half-century, another friend, Lester Garris, said. Most recently, Bradley lived in a mobile home park along U.S. Highway 17 near Macedonia, he said,

Bradley was known as a jack-of-all-trades, and over the years he had worked as a plumber, a carpenter and a saw sharpener, among other things. His obituary lists him as a former pipefitter at the Charleston Naval Shipyard. In his spare time, he liked to fish.

“He was a pretty good all-around fellow,” Garris said. “He never bothered anybody.”

Though nearing his 80th birthday, Bradley remained fit and active. Just last week, he helped Cole chop down weeds and plant grapevines and blueberry bushes.

“He was a good friend,” Cole said. “Even though he was three years older than me, he was my right-hand man.”

His death came as a severe blow to his family, as they are still mourning the death of his grandson in a car crash a few weeks back, Cole said.

Brice Herndon’s Walterboro chapel is handling funeral arrangements.

Anyone with information about Bradley’s death is asked to call the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office at 719-4412 or leave an anomymous tip with Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.

Dave Munday contributed to this story. Reach Glenn Smith at 937-5556