Artie Carroll Bradley spent most mornings drinking coffee and shooting the breeze with other regulars at the Hardee’s restaurant in Moncks Corner.
Folks there knew the 79-year-old retiree as an easy-going fellow who was nice to all.
So friends were stunned and puzzled when Bradley’s body turned up on the side of a road Sunday, the victim of a homicide.
“He was just a good guy, absolutely harmless,” friend Delmar Cole said. “What kind of animal would so something like that to him?”
Around 3:30 p.m., a man and his wife found Bradley’s body along Bonneau Road, a forestry road in the Francis Marion National Forest, about a mile from Bradley’s home, according to the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office.
Coroner Bill Salisbury has ruled Bradley’s death a homicide, but authorities are awaiting the results of an autopsy to pinpoint the cause of his death.
According to friends and family, Bradley was last seen on Friday afternoon, sheriff’s office spokesman Dan Moon said.
The sheriff’s office wants anyone who saw Bradley after that time or has information on his killing to call the agency at 843-719-4412 or Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.
Friends said they can think of no one who would have wanted to harm Bradley, who had two grown daughters.
Bradley grew up in St. Stephen but had lived in Moncks Corner for the better part of a half-century, friend Lester Garris said. Most recently, Bradley lived in a mobile home park along U.S. Highway 17 near Macedonia, he said.
Bradley was known as a jack-of-all-trades, and over the years he had worked as a plumber, a carpenter and a saw sharpener, among other things. His obituary lists him as a former pipe fitter at the Charleston Naval Shipyard. In his spare time, he liked to fish.
“He was a pretty good all-around fellow,” Garris said. “He never bothered anybody.”
Though nearing his 80th birthday, Bradley remained fit and active. Just last week, he helped Cole chop down weeds and plant grapevines and blueberry bushes.
“He was a good friend,” Cole said. “Even though he was three years older than me, he was my right-hand man.”
His death came as a severe blow to his family, as they are still mourning the death of his grandson in a car crash a few weeks back, Cole said.
Brice Herndon’s Walterboro chapel is handling funeral arrangements.
Natalie Caula and Dave Munday contributed to this report.