To Gayle McCaffrey's loved ones, the story of her disappearance never made sense.
A letter left at her West Ashley house in March 2012 said she had found her husband's safe, along with $110,000 and a gun inside.
The marriage between her and Robert McCaffrey had been failing, the letter stated, so she left with the cash to be with her lover, "Nicky," and she threatened to use the gun if he came after her.
At the same time, Robert McCaffrey didn't tell deputies from the Charleston County Sheriff's Office exactly what he was doing when he drove to the Upstate on the night his wife disappeared. They said he was meeting with his own lover there.
Gayle McCaffrey's sisters had suspected that he was having an affair, but it didn't make sense that his wife would be the one to leave and abandon her two children.
"The facts are pretty clear that he did lie from the beginning," one of them, Helen Banach of Summerville, said Sunday. "If that's what they can arrest him on, that's a step in the right direction."
The new details about the letter and about Robert McCaffrey's behavior when deputies first questioned him were made available after his arrest Saturday on a charge of obstructing justice. They were contained in an expanded incident report from March 18, 2012, the day he reported his wife missing.
It was the first trip behind bars for the 42-year-old man who deputies have long suspected in his wife's presumed slaying.
But it was a short one. He posted $100,000 bail Sunday afternoon and was released.
His attorney, Chris Lizzi of North Charleston, lambasted the Sheriff's Office for what he considered a maneuver to force his client into a second interview even though deputies knew he had a lawyer.
What McCaffrey said during the questioning wasn't known, Lizzi added, but the attorney vowed to challenge any evidence that did come from it.
"He's quite frustrated by their actions," Lizzi said. "They sat him down and tried to talk to him. They just kept on trying to anger him."
Gayle McCaffrey's family members had hoped that his stay in jail would be longer and that deputies could get new information leading to further charges. But exactly what happened after his arrest remained unclear Sunday night. Sheriff's Maj. Eric Watson could not be reached for comment.
The charge he faces is a common-law offense that's not discussed in South Carolina's statutes, but is punishable by up to 10 years in prison, according to the State Law Enforcement Division.
Some of the allegations pertained to McCaffrey's whereabouts and actions on St. Patrick's Day 2012, the day his wife is thought to have gone missing from their Limestone Boulevard house. Despite searches, deputies never have been able to find her.
In one of the accusations, the investigators said they never found evidence of the safe mentioned in Gayle McCaffrey's supposed letter. Deputies have said that the letter was a fake.
Robert McCaffrey also wasn't forthcoming, an arrest affidavit alleged, about the woman he had been seeing in the Travelers Rest area, where he got a speeding ticket on the night his wife went missing.
The report goes into further detail about how McCaffrey handled the authorities' initial questioning two years ago.
When pressed about his wife's whereabouts, he started to "cry hysterically," pace and "hold his hands to his forehead and look up to the ceiling."
But McCaffrey's attorney said his client has stood by his account of his wife's disappearance. Lizzi was confident that the case against his client would not hold up in court.
McCaffrey recently got a new job in Statesville, N.C., just north of Charlotte. His bail conditions will allow him to return there, but Lizzi said the arrest had foiled the "semblance he was trying to establish in his life."
It came before 3 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of a Bi-Lo store in Mount Pleasant, where McCaffrey was supposed to see his children, ages 13 and 6, for a scheduled visit.
Instead, he was taken away by sheriff's deputies, and his vehicle was searched, Lizzi said.
"It's not even the same one," Lizzi said. "He didn't own the vehicle at the time."
McCaffrey still hoped to return to North Carolina after his parents picked him up from the jail Sunday, the lawyer said.
Banach, his wife's sister, expressed disappointment about his release but hopes that something would come from his arrest.
"We have to keep hoping," she said. "The police never gave up and tried to find answers. We're holding out hope that they'll be able to find more."
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.
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