Information reported this week about the speeding ticket Bob McCaffrey received on the night his wife disappeared was an “attempt at further putting him in a bad light” and there was nothing new or remarkable for investigators, his attorney said this morning.
McCaffrey seemed agitated when he was stopped for speeding early March 18, and he had a handgun inside his Dodge Ram, according to the Travelers Rest Police Department. But the firearm had been legally stored in the pickup, and nothing was remarkable about the traffic stop, the official said.
The Post and Courier previously reported that McCaffrey was a shooting enthusiast and that sheriff’s investigators removed several firearms during a search of his West Ashley house. But none of the guns have been linked to any alleged crimes.
“That could have been anybody at all during a traffic stop,” attorney Chris Lizzi said this morning. “This information has been in the hands of law enforcement since Day 1, and it was part of his initial statements.
“Nothing has changed.”Gayle McCaffrey, 36, was reported missing later on the day of the traffic stop. Investigators have unearthed no clues about what happened to her but have named her husband as a suspect in her death.
The couple had a disagreement during a family meal on St. Patrick’s Day, prompting Bob McCaffrey’s trip Upstate. That’s where he met with a woman he had been pursuing as a love interest, according to the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office.
A Travelers Rest police officer stopped his truck on U.S. Highway 25 for going 64 mph in a 45-mph zone. He was issued a $135 ticket.
McCaffrey had a handgun stashed in the center console of his pickup, and he removed it as he reached for his registration and insurance information, Travelers Rest Police Chief Lance Crowe said.
While it’s best to inform an officer during a stop that a firearm is in the vehicle, Crowe said no laws were broken. The stop was one of more than a dozen conducted that evening by the officer, whom the chief called one of the most productive and knowledgeable on his force.
“There was nothing noteworthy about that traffic stop,” Crowe said. “It didn’t stand out to us at all. Nothing made the officer want to do any more during the stop than he did.
“Nothing flew up any red flags.”
Bob McCaffrey said he returned to his Limestone Boulevard home about four hours after the encounter and found his wife gone. Left behind were their two children, her wedding band, her cellphone and her Jeep. A typed note saying she had left to be with another man was determined to be bogus, sheriff’s investigators have said.
Though evidence technicians have removed weapons from the home, officials declined to theorize about how Gayle McCaffrey was killed.
“We removed several weapons from the residence,” sheriff’s spokesman Maj. Jim Brady said. “But they’re legal. They’re guns that he legally owns.”
Through his attorney, the 41-year-old has maintained his innocence and remains hopeful that his wife will be found alive. He also has offered himself for follow-up interviews with investigators, Lizzi said.
At this point, any case against the man is purely circumstantial, officials have said. Several searches along S.C. Highway 61 near the couple’s home also have uncovered nothing.
Lizzi said the media and the authorities have continued to negatively portray his client “when they have no real evidence at all.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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