A skull found last year behind Cainhoy Elementary School has been identified as that of a Spartanburg woman whose disappearance two years ago was considered suspicious by authorities.
Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury identified the woman as Nicole Goodlett. Family members reported Goodlett missing March 12, 2014, when she was 28 years old, Salisbury said.
No trauma was found on the skull, Salisbury said. The manner and cause of death will be listed as undetermined, he said.
Spartanburg County sheriff’s Lt. Kevin Bobo described the identification of Goodlett’s skull as a “major development” in the office’s ongoing investigation into her disappearance and death.
Bobo said he didn’t think the coroner’s “undetermined” listing hurt the criminal investigation but that “it would help if we could recover all or some of the rest of her.” Search crews will continue to scour the area for additional remains, he said.
A hunter found the woman’s skull in the woods behind Cainhoy Elementary School on Nov. 27.
The skull was sent to the State Law Enforcement Division for DNA testing that helped identify the woman.
Goodlett was a mother of three, Salisbury said. Her family last saw her on Feb. 20, 2014.
Investigators named Goodlett’s boyfriend, Jerald Jermaine Howard, 34, as a person of interest shortly after her disappearance. Howard was last known to live on Archdale Boulevard off Dorchester Road, Charleston County court records show.
“Her boyfriend is the only suspect we have, but we aren’t able to file charges at this time,” Bobo said.
Howard is the father of Goodlett’s twin daughters and he has relatives in Berkeley County, investigators said. Deputies found the children at Howard’s parent’s house after Goodlett went missing.
Goodlett’s children are now with her parents in Texas, Bobo said.
Authorities located Howard in Berkeley County after Goodlett’s disappearance, and Bobo said he suspects the man may still be in the area.
Howard pleaded no contest to an obstruction of justice charge in connection with the case last year and received a five-year sentence that was suspended to 90 days or a $500 fine and two years of probation, court records show.
The arrest wasn’t Howard’s first run-in with the law.
He was convicted of domestic violence after a May 2008 arrest, State Law Enforcement Division records show.
In another incident, deputies were called to the house Howard shared with Goodlett following an argument that had not turned violent, authorities said.
Deputies also jailed Howard two weeks after Nicole Goodlett was reported missing, after they said he entered a house on Graymouth Drive in Spartanburg while they searched it for evidence and carried away a cellphone. During that encounter, deputies said Howard acted nervous, agitated and in a hurry to leave.
Two days later, he posted $1,000 bail on a charge of resisting arrest.
Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office is conducting an ongoing investigation with help from Berkeley County authorities. Crews will search the area in a hunt for more evidence, Salisbury said.
Reach Christina Elmore at 843-937-5908.