Officials believe man was shot

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An Augusta man whose body was found Thursday near a North Augusta golf course was likely shot to death elsewhere and dumped in a wooded area where someone tried to set his body ablaze, the Aiken County Coroner's Office said Friday.

Corwin Lee, 38, died as a result of a single gunshot wound to the head, Aiken County Coroner Tim Carlton said. The death has been ruled a homicide.

Mr. Carlton said though it is early in the investigation, authorities believe Mr. Lee was killed at an unknown location and his body was dumped near The River Club Golf Course, where it was set on fire. An exact time of death has not been determined, but the coroner said the body likely had been lying dead for at least two days before it was found.

"Hopefully we'll learn (when Mr. Lee was killed) through the course of the investigation," Mr. Carlton said.

A maintenance employee of the golf club said he found Mr. Lee's body about 11:30 a.m. Thursday while walking with a co-worker.

Patrick Laorenza, 34, said Mr. Lee was lying on his side with his right arm over his face about 100 yards from the road, and that he had suffered burns to his legs.

Mr. Carlton said someone likely set the body on fire "to cover up something."

The Aiken County Sheriff's Office, along with the Richmond County Sheriff's Office and Aiken County Coroner's Office, are investigating the case.

Richmond County Sgt. Richard Roundtree deferred comment to Aiken County authorities. Aiken County Capt. Charles Barranco did not immediately return messages seeking comment.

Police have said Mr. Lee was last seen leaving his home -- the Super Inn on Gordon Highway -- with two men Sunday night.

Mr. Lee's body was recovered near the site where police discovered the burned remains of David Holt in the trunk of his vehicle nine years ago.

Mr. Holt, a manager for Sam's Club on Bobby Jones Expressway, had been forced to open the store and its safe before he was locked in the trunk of the car, which was set aflame.

Staff Writer Adam Folk contributed to this article.

Reach J. Scott Trubey at (706) 823-3424 or scott.trubey@augustachronicle.com.


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