After more than a month of searching for a 29-year-old Summerville woman, her family learned on Mother’s Day that she was violently killed.
The body of Ashley Nicole Pegram was found Saturday in a wooded area off Brown Town Road just outside Harleyville. A forensic autopsy performed Sunday at Medical University Hospital “revealed many interesting facts” that led Dorchester County Coroner Chris Nisbet to rule the cause of death as homicidal violence, he said in an email sent Sunday evening.
“The family has been notified of the identification and can now finally put their loved one to rest properly,” Nisbet added.
He said there would be no further details released from his office, citing an ongoing murder investigation by the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office.
Edward Bonilla, 30, of Mabeline Road in Hanahan, was charged last week with Pegram’s murder after investigators found blood in his trunk that was consistent with her DNA profile, according to Capt. Tony Phinney.
They also found blood in “other locations that were under (Bonilla’s) control” the night of Pegram’s disappearance, Phinney previously said.
Bonilla was first arrested April 15 on an obstruction charge because of discrepancies in his version of what happened after he picked up Pegram from her home on April 3. He is being held in the Dorchester County jail.
Phinney declined to comment Sunday about the discovery of Pegram’s body and said that the Sheriff’s Office would release more information about the case Monday.
Pegram and Bonilla met through the Kik phone app. He went by the screen name of Emoney Bon, according to investigators.
Pegram’s family told deputies that she left their house in Clemson Terrace around 9:30 p.m. April 3 with a man in a slate blue 2005 Hyundai Sonata.
Her sister, who could not be reached for comment Sunday, tracked down the man through messages on the cellphone she and her sister share. Pegram, who leaves behind three children, didn’t take the phone, credit cards or other identification with her when she went out on the date, according to the incident report.
Bonilla told investigators he dropped off Pegram near her house off U.S. Highway 78 near Summerville around midnight because she was drunk and unruly, according to the report.
His story was contradicted by video showing Pegram at a Sunoco station on College Park Road around that time, Phinney said after Bonilla was arrested.
Reach Melissa Boughton at 937-5594 or at Twitter.com/mboughton.