Originally created 09/21/96

Police: Woman threatened repeat of DSS killings



DILLON, S.C. - A Latta woman has been arrested on charges of threatening a school employee in Dillon, four days after a man fatally shot three Social Services workers in North Augusta.

Deloris Bethea, 43, was arrested on Friday and charged with threatening the life of a public official, Dillon County Sheriff's Deputy Johnny Sapp said.

Deputy Sapp said Ms. Bethea told a Dillon County Schools employee that the same thing that happened to the Aiken County DSS workers would happen again if the social service agency intervened with her children.

The school employee had visited Bethea to see why her child had been missing school.

Neither Deputy Sapp nor DSS spokesman Jerry Adams would say if Ms. Bethea had a criminal history. However, Mr. Adams said that DSS had previous cases with her and her family. Mr. Adams said DSS' "history with her was such that we took it (the threat) seriously."

Ms. Bethea is undergoing a mental evaluation at a hospital in Dillon, Deputy Sapp said.

On Monday, police say David Mark Hill, 36, of North Augusta walked into the DSS office and shot three caseworkers to death. He shot himself the next morning and remains in critical condition.

Mr. Adams said threats to social workers are not uncommon. "This one was especially serious in light of what happened in Aiken County since it was mentioned specifically.

"Any threats against our folks will be taken seriously," Mr. Adams said.