Sheriff: Gayle McCaffrey’s disappearance now considered a homicide, husband a suspect

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said in a statement this morning that he plans to update the public on the Gayle McCaffrey case. (Provided)

The husband of missing West Ashley woman Gayle McCaffrey was named as the suspect in her death during a statement this morning by Sheriff Al Cannon.

Cannon said that judging by inactivity on McCaffrey’s bank account and the belief that the farewell note she supposedly left was “bogus,” investigators think Robert McCaffrey somehow killed his wife around St. Patrick’s Day.

Deputies will search a private property Thursday off Ashley River Road where cellphone records led them to think her remains might lie.

Robert McCaffrey had also been maintaining a love interest and had traveled Upstate to see the woman the night before he reported his wife missing, said Cannon, confirming statements made weeks ago by family members.

The sheriff said that the two exchanged text messages but that the woman didn’t share McCaffrey’s feelings. Cannon said the woman, who wasn’t named, is cooperating with investigators.

Despite naming McCaffrey as a suspect for the first time since he was labeled a person of interest weeks ago, the sheriff said there was no probable cause to arrest him.

Gayle McCaffrey disappeared more than six weeks ago and has not been found despite multiple searches.

McCaffrey was last seen March 17 by her husband, Robert McCaffrey, at their home on Limestone Boulevard. After making a quick trip Upstate for an unknown reason, Robert McCaffrey returned home the next morning and found a note saying his wife had left, possibly to be with another man.

The Citadel employee and devout Baptist had left personal items, such as her Jeep and wedding ring, behind. Her children were left sleeping without an adult in the house.

Robert McCaffrey reported her missing later in the day. Deputies have said he stopped giving them information after an initial interview.

Despite searches throughout a wide swath of West Ashley, deputies have struggled to find clues pertaining to the woman’s whereabouts.

Anyone with information in the case should call the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office at 202-1700 or Crime Stoppers at 554-1111.

Reach Andrew Knapp at 937-5414 or twitter.com/offlede.

Andrew Knapp is editor of the quick response team, which covers crime, courts and breaking news. He previously worked as a reporter and copy editor at Florida Today, Newsday and Bangor (Maine) Daily News. He enjoys golf, weather and fatherhood.