Search moves to finding women’s killer
A search for two missing women has become a hunt for who killed them.
To offer tips
Anyone with information about the homicides should call the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office at 719-4412.
A body believed to be that of 22-year-old June Guerry, of St. Stephen, was found about 4 p.m. Wednesday in the Francis Marion National Forest. She was dumped in an old dirt pit off a secluded dirt road in the Alvin area of Berkeley County.
The discovery came a day after the body of her friend, 18-year-old Dana Woods, also of St. Stephen, was found by a man looking for a fishing hole in the forest off Cane Gully Road in the Cordesville community. Woods was shot to death about 75 yards from her burned car, Coroner Bill Salisbury said.
“There’s no reason anyone would hurt those girls,” Woods’ mother, Jennifer Hill, said after an autopsy Wednesday morning confirmed how her daughter died. “I just hope one was killed trying to protect the other. That’s the kind of girls they were.”
The second body was found off Greenwood Road, about 10 miles from where Woods’ burned car and body were found. Searchers were still combing the Cordesville area for signs of Guerry on Wednesday afternoon when they learned that a second body had been found.
Somebody visiting a family cemetery nearby found the second body after noticing a shirt or sweatshirt stuck in a tree near the pit, Salisbury said. The body was about halfway down the embankment of the 15-foot hole, he said.
It’s possible whoever killed her put the shirt in the tree so the body would be discovered, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dan Moon said.
Salisbury said he was confident that the woman was Guerry, based on what she was wearing. The body was taken to Medical University Hospital for an autopsy Wednesday night, and identification is expected today.
Salisbury declined to say how she might have died until after the autopsy.
The find moves the investigation from a search for bodies to a hunt for a killer, Moon said. The Sheriff’s Office is following a number of leads and tips, but always welcomes more information from the public, he said.
Detectives spent Wednesday pouring over surveillance video from locations where the women were last seen and questioning people who had recent contact with them. The FBI gave the agency “some assistance,” Moon said, though he wouldn’t confirm how.
Relatives said they knew of no one who would hurt the women, who state records show did not have arrest histories.
“There are some leads were are following up on,” Moon said. “But I don’t want to say there’s a suspect. ... We know some people that could, maybe, possibly be involved.”
Hill said Woods, her daughter, was “sweet and caring and loving” and never gave in to the temptation of drugs and alcohol.
Through tears, she described her daughter as straight-laced. Woods often served as a designated driver for friends, Hill said.
When Woods spent time with friends, she usually did so at her mother’s house.
“They were both good girls,” Hill said. “They went to work, went to school and came home.
“I just hope they get the bad man who did this.”
April Guerry said her sister would “work, come home, take care of her (2-year-old) child and go back to work” at Walmart.
“She was moving up in her job,” Guerry said. “She was doing real well.”
Relatives said they last saw the women at Woods’ grandmother’s house in Pinopolis around 11:30 p.m. Sunday.
They left in Woods’ Chevrolet Metro and were last seen picking up food at a Burger King in Moncks Corner. Woods told her mother by telephone that they planned to stop at a McDonald’s, then head home.
That was the last contact family members had with them.
The charred Chevrolet was found early Tuesday afternoon, just as a torrential rainstorm moved into the area.
Investigators who searched for Guerry’s body the next day worried that the storm washed away key evidence, such as vehicle tracks and footprints.
“Whenever you have a younger person like this who’s lost their life ... that’s a very tragic thing,” Salisbury, the coroner, said. “We pray for the family and their friends.”
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 and Dave Munday at 937-5553.