7-year-old girl witnessed Wagener slayings

Victim's daughter escaped with brother, ran for help

A 7-year-old girl watched Kenneth Lee Myers shoot her mother, her mother's twin sister and her grandmother Saturday in their Daytona Road home in Wagener.


The girl's mother, Tabitha Brown, was holding her 1-year-old son when she was shot as her daughter watched, Brown's brother said.

After the gunfire stopped, the girl first tried to get her mother's cellphone from her pocket, but there was too much blood. So she got her baby brother and ran a mile to a neighbor's house for help, Donald Brown said.

The 911 call made from that house was the first word authorities got of the shooting deaths of the women, Aiken County sheriff's Sgt. Jason Feemster said.

Myers was still at the house after killing the women, authorities said.

The sheriff's office, Wagener Police Department and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division are still trying to determine what led 47-year-old Myers to fatally shoot his 25-year-old wife, Angela Myers; her twin sister, Tabitha Brown; and their 50-year-old mother, Vicki May Hook Brown.

Deputies and Wagener police found the three women's bodies about 6 p.m. Saturday. Feemster said there were no signs of a struggle between the women and the gunman.

Myers then headed to ex-girlfriend Esther Baldwin's home on Big Branch Road and fatally shot her. The 47-year-old Baldwin's body was discovered about 1 a.m. Sunday.

Aiken County sheriff's Capt. Charles Barranco said in a news release Saturday night that Myers was believed to be driving a white van, possibly with ladders on top, and that it could have been headed to Alabama. But shortly after discovering Baldwin's body during a wellness check, officers found Myers in Baldwin's truck near her home, and a police chase ensued.

WJBF-TV reported that the Baldwin family found a suicide note in the truck Myers was driving during the chase, which ended with him shooting himself in the head at the Daytona Road address. Reporter Jillian Benfield told The Augusta Chronicle that the note contained about 10 pages of convoluted ramblings in a 4-inch-by-3-inch notebook, and she left it with the family after writing down some excerpts.

Benfield said deputies told her they would speak to the Baldwins about the note.

"This family has had zero contact from any law enforcement agent since the death of my sister," Mary Shore, a sister of Esther Baldwin's, told WJBF.

The vehicle in which the note was found by Baldwin's family members had reportedly already been processed by SLED. SLED spokeswoman Kathryn Richardson said Tuesday evening that it is her agency's policy not to comment on an ongoing investigation, no matter the circumstances, and Feemster would not comment on whether the sheriff's office had talked to Baldwin's relatives about the note.

"No one has brought us the note, so we would have to refer that back to SLED because SLED was the agency that would have located that after the officer-involved shooting," Feemster said.

Feemster said SLED took over the portion of the investigation after Myers attempted to hit a deputy with the vehicle he was driving and the officer fired shots, but that the sheriff's office was in charge of investigating the four homicides.

Family members at the Baldwin home said Tuesday evening that because they had received upsetting news from SLED, they were not in an emotional state to discuss details of the case. They did not say what the upsetting news was.

On Monday, Dinah Baldwin, a sister-in-law of Esther, said the family had been told by a "policeman" that Myers had a "hit list" of seven people he intended to kill. She added that she understood the list was written.

On Tuesday, the Aiken County Sheriff's Office said no written list had been found, but acknowledged that a witness had come forward and said Myers had told him the names of his intended victims several days before the rampage.

Myers was unemployed but had previously owned an auto glass repair business in addition to several properties. Feemster said he is unaware what led to Myers' unemployment.

But Wagener police officer Michael Rushton -- who was among the officers trying to capture Myers early Sunday -- has said Myers had told him that the bad economy cut into his business, and that he was having relationship troubles with his wife, according to The Aiken Standard . Rushton said he had known Myers for eight years.

Baldwin's family members recalled Myers as "controlling." The two were in a relationship for more than seven years before Myers packed up about one year ago and married Angela Myers.

Alan Maclay, the manager of Cold Creek Nurseries in Aiken, was shocked at the news of the tragic death of former employee Vicki Brown.

"She was a friend more than an employee," he said.

She was a production manager in the greenhouse for several years before leaving to become an EMT. The last Maclay heard, Brown had started a cleaning business with her daughters. Maclay recalled that Brown was close to her children.

"Everybody (at the nursery) was just walking around shaking their heads trying to understand what happened," he said.

Associated Press reports were used in this article.

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