Yarborough mugshot

James "Stan" Yarborough, 64, has been arrested for the murder of his wife Karen Yarborough, found slain in an unincorporated part of Dorchester County. Provided

A former principal of Summerville High School who reported his wife missing Tuesday is responsible for her slaying, according to Summerville police.

James Stanton Yarborough, 64, was arrested on charges of murder, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and obstruction of justice.

Yarborough called police to the couple's home on Waring Street on Tuesday morning and said he hadn't seen 63-year-old Karen Simmons Yarborough since she said she was going on a walk around 8 p.m. the night before, according to an incident report.

Officers searched her normal walking route but found no sign of the woman, according to the report.

As Yarborough was describing his wife to officers, they noticed a red stain on his shirt, which he said was his own blood, an officer reported. They also noticed a single bullet on the floor of the master bedroom. No casing was found.

Yarborough said he did not have a gun and had no idea why the bullet would have been there, according to the report.

There was damage to the vehicles parked outside the home, according to the report, as well as broken flower pots and a wheel barrow "in which it appeared as if someone had attempted to clean up the scene of the incident."

A friend of Karen Yarborough told police the couple had brought her lunch on Saturday but that she hadn't heard from her since, the report stated.

Deputies later found Yarborough's body Tuesday near Harrison Road in an unincorporated area of Dorchester County.

The Dorchester County Coroner's Office said she had died of a homicide. An autopsy is scheduled for Thursday morning.

James Yarborough served as principal at Summerville High for six years before leaving to work as a facilities manager for Dorchester District 2 in 1998. District officials said he retired several years ago.

Sign up for our daily newsletter

Get the best of The Post and Courier, handpicked and delivered to your inbox every morning.


Contact Fleming Smith at 843-607-0152. Follow her on Twitter at @MFlemingSmith.

Fleming Smith covers breaking news for the Charleston area. A native Georgian, she previously covered breaking news and features for The Wall Street Journal and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.