Originally created 05/16/02

Across South Carolina



Kidnapping suspect leads police to bodies

EASLEY -One of two men charged with kidnapping a Pickens County woman and her daughter has led investigators to two bodies in a shallow grave in Richland County.

Authorities think the remains are Andrea Michelle Dean, 19, and her 18-month-old daughter, Courtlinn Jade Dean, who have been missing since June 25, 2000, investigators said.

Joe Antwan Stokes, 21, and Casey Lenard Butler, 21, both of Easley, were charged with kidnapping.

Pickens County investigators think the kidnappers told Dean that they would take her and the child to the Columbia zoo.

Panel recommends judge's re-election

COLUMBIA -A judicial screening committee has unanimously recommended Family Court Judge Haskell T. "Tommy" Abbott of Conway for re-election.

Legislators had voted him down in a joint session in February based on a request from two dissenting members of the Judicial Merit Selection Commission. The members said Judge Abbott had denied a woman her rights during a custody case.

The panel's report released said that while Judge Abbott made some mistakes, he was "being made the focus of the guardian ad litem reform movement." The report said "the movement should be heard, but this screening commission is not the appropriate forum."

Teacher stays jailed on new sex charge

BEAUFORT -Another molestation charge has been filed against a Beaufort County elementary school teacher.

Phillip Underwood-Sheppard, 43, a music teacher at Coosa Elementary School, was charged with engaging a child for sexual performance.

Mr. Underwood-Sheppard also faces two charges of indecent exposure and four charges of performing a lewd act on a child younger than 14 years old. The teacher has been denied bond.

Student arrested over shotgun in car

SPARTANBURG -A Spartanburg High School student was charged with possession of a firearm on school grounds after he forgot to remove a shotgun from his car following a weekend hunting trip.

Tyler William Brownlee, 18, was arrested after officials looked through the windows of his vehicle and saw the large brown leather case with ammunition next to it, according to a Spartanburg County sheriff's report.