Originally created 11/20/02

Arrests made in missing person case



Four people have been arrested in the disappearance of an Evans man whose burning car was discovered this week in Edgefield County.

An unidentified person found in the trunk of that car died of smoke inhalation and burns, authorities said today.

Those arrested include:

  • Shannon Devon Patton, 17, of the 200 block of Oakridge Drive, Martinez;
  • Randy Allen Conrad II, 17, of the 3900 block of Casa Rosa Avenue, Martinez;
  • Marcus Torez McCord, 18, of the 100 block of Cyndee Circle, Martinez;
  • A 16-year-old juvenile from Augusta.

    Each is charged with kidnapping, auto theft and burglary, said Capt. Steve Morris of the Columbia County Sheriff's Department. The four - who were arrested at a residence on Warren Road in Augusta - were being held without bond in the Columbia County Detention Center.

    Police said Mr. Patton is the stepson of Jack A. Murray, 63, whose burning Mercedes was discovered Monday on a logging road in Sumter National Forest in South Carolina, police said.

    Although authorities suspect the body might be that of Mr. Murray, until the body has been identified Columbia County authorities said they consider Mr. Murray "missing and endangered."

    Police searched Mr. Murray's Oakton Trail home in Evans on Monday after the burned car was traced to that address.

    The victim was burned alive in the trunk, according to a report from the Edgefield County Coroner's Office. The person died of smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning and thermal burning, the report indicated.

    Coroner Thurmond Burnett said authorities might have a positive identification of the victim by Thursday.

    Lt. Joel Summer with the Edgefield County Sheriff's Office said investigators did not know how long the car was on fire before firefighters responded to the scene about 70 yards off Deep Step Road near the McCormick County line.

    Charges against the group are pending in South Carolina, police said.