MONCKS CORNER — The bicyclist who reported finding the body of a missing Windwood subdivision woman knew where she was because he raped and killed her, Berkeley County investigators charged Wednesday.
Detectives arrested Hampton Burbage of Moncks Corner, a 41-year-old convicted sex offender, on charges of murder and first-degree criminal sexual conduct in the slaying of Teresa Jo Moore.
Moore's family reported her missing May 6. Her brother, Steve Hammond, saw her walking up the driveway of the family's property on Autumn Lane, but thought she was going to check the mailbox. The family later realized Moore, 45, had not returned home.
Sheriff's Office legal counsel Blair Jennings said detectives believe Moore was killed a short time after she left the property. Her body was found Monday morning in the woods across from 2441 U.S. Highway 17A, about a mile from her home. Authorities said a man on a bicycle claimed he found Moore's remains after he'd stopped in the area to urinate. Burbage was identified as that man, Jennings said.
Moore's husband, Earl, and family friend Tony Lynes had spoken to Burbage earlier in the day on Monday, the Sheriff's Office said. The two men saw Burbage at a convenience store about two miles from where Moore's body would be found. They asked him if he'd seen the missing woman and he said no.
Jennings and Berkeley County Coroner Glenn Rhoad revealed little Wednesday about Moore's death. Affidavits stated that Burbage implicated himself in Moore's rape and slaying, but gave no details.
Burbage went before Magistrate Harry Wright later Wednesday in a bond hearing that was unusually emotional. Burbage began crying as Wright read the charges filed against him. He propped his left arm on the judge's bench and lowered his head, prompting a warning from a sheriff's deputy to step back.
Wright asked Burbage if he had any statements.
"Yeah, I do have one," he said in a soft voice. "I'm sorry that it happened. I'm sorry for the family."
Burbage turned slightly toward the small gallery where his family and friends of Moore sat. "Oh, God," he bawled as his body collapsed. Two deputies grabbed Burbage's arms and carried him from the courtroom as his feet dragged the floor.
Moore's family did not attend the bond hearing and could not be reached for comment. Lynes and several supporters were in the gallery.
"It's hard. Earl, her husband, is very upset. He can hardly talk about it," Lynes said.
Neighbor Carrie Smith wasn't moved by Burbage's display in the courtroom.
"He has no remorse," she said to a friend.
Smith may have been one of the last people who saw Moore alive. She said she was turning into the Windwood subdivision about 3:15 p.m. May 6 and saw Moore walking along U.S. 17A. Moore was walking toward Moncks Corner and a man was walking a bicycle not far behind, Smith said. She did not know at the time that Moore was missing and wept as she spoke of regret because she didn't stop.
The Sheriff's Office received a report May 6 that Moore was seen walking on U.S. 17A with a Hispanic man on a red bicycle. They were walking toward Moncks Corner, Hammond said in an earlier interview. Though not Hispanic, investigators said the dark-skinned Burbage matched the description.
Rena Clark, Burbage's sister, said she doesn't believe it.
"He's done quite a few things in his life, but as far as him killing someone, no, I can't see it," Clark said.
Burbage, known to the family as "Hamp," would not hurt anyone intentionally, Clark said.
The state sex offender registry shows that Burbage was convicted in 1985 on a charge of committing or attempting to commit a lewd act upon a child under 16. His registration is current. Records show he initially registered as a sex offender in September 2007.
Burbage's bond hearing was largely a formality. A circuit judge must set bail on the charges. Burbage is being held in the Hill-Finklea Detention Center.