The latest homicide victim to be found in the Francis Marion National Forest was slumped in a passenger area of a sport utility vewhicle and had a gunshot wound in his chest, according to an incident report released Thursday.
A resident of the rural area south of Huger spotted the tan Chevrolet Suburban about 20 yards into the woods off Brick Church Road, which connects Cainhoy Road to S.C. Highway 41.
The man told deputies that he walked up to the SUV early Tuesday and noticed 31-year-old Robert Moultrie of Conway “in a fetal position in the rear passenger compartment,” the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office report stated.
He was already dead.
An autopsy later confirmed that Moultrie had died of the bullet wound, but investigators still were trying to determine whether he was shot in the forest or elsewhere. The sheriff’s report mentions only one bullet wound to Moultrie’s “left chest area.”
Other residents of the small communities in the forest near Huger told deputies and The Post and Courier that they spotted the SUV late Sunday. They thought little of the find, though, chalking up the sighting to hunting activity.
But those first, unreported sightings likely came within hours of the last time Moultrie was seen alive.
His brother in Georgetown County told deputies there that Moultrie paid him a visit Sunday night. Moultrie was agitated and before he left, he said, “I can’t take this bull---- anymore. I’ll take care of it myself,” his brother told authorities.
Relatives added that Moultrie had made veiled threats to hurt himself, though he didn’t state that outright.
In spite of the remarks, sheriff’s Capt. Rick Ollic said, “Someone definitely killed him.” Ollic added that investigators were trying to gather background on him so they could compile a list of possible suspects.
Without stating a source for the information, family members told deputies that they learned Moultrie had attended a party in the Huger area on Sunday, then left for home over the forest’s roads.
Moultrie, who had a felony arrest history that included convictions for burglary and trafficking cocaine, was the third homicide victim to be found in the Francis Marion in recent weeks and the fourth this year.
But it’s the only slaying still unsolved.
Two men have been arrested in the shooting deaths last month of 22-year-old mother June Guerry and 18-year-old college student Dana Woods in Cordesville, about 26 miles north of the area where Moultrie was found.
In February, police detectives in Mount Pleasant said business executive David Hedrick, 34, fatally shot his fiancee, 30-year-old Dara Watson, in their home and later discarded her body off Steed Creek Road. He killed himself later in the week, before deputies removed Watson’s body from a shallow grave.
That site was about nine miles from where Moultrie was found this week.
Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.