James Stanton Yarborough spoke in a calm voice Tuesday morning to a Summerville police dispatcher. He couldn't find his wife.
The 64-year-old former Summerville High School principal called 911 at 7:35 a.m. and said she didn't come home after going on a walk the night before.
"I'm trying to find my wife. ... I went to bed last night and she went to walk and she has not come back," Yarborough said, in a 911 recording released Thursday by Summerville town officials. "It's normal. She walks regularly and she didn't come back. ... I woke up this morning and she was not here."
During the call, he tells the dispatcher several times that his wife went on her normal walk. She was wearing her walking clothes but he couldn't remember their color. She didn't have her phone.
It wasn't like her to be gone, Yarborough said.
"It's not normal for her," he said. "I already rode the whole area that she walks. ... It's her normal route. She does it all the time."
At 9 a.m., Dorchester County sheriff's deputies made a grisly discovery.
A woman had been found dead off Harrison Road in a rural part of the county between Ridgeville and Harleyville.
After further investigation, deputies discovered it was James' wife, 63-year-old Karen Simmons Yarborough. Her body was 16.4 miles from her home on Waring Street.
While questioning Yarborough at his home that morning, officers noticed a red stain on his shirt, which he said must have been his own blood because he took blood thinners.
Officers found Karen's purse and phone inside the home, and a single, "unknown caliber bullet," missing its shell casing on the master bedroom floor, according to a Summerville police incident report.
Yarborough told officers he didn't have any guns and that he didn't know why a bullet was in the house.
He was arrested on that day and charged with murder, possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime and obstructing justice.
On Thursday, the Dorchester County Coroner's Office said his wife died of a gunshot wound to the head.