Man arrested after leading deputies to body

Source: Pastor Juan Garces
Source: Pastor Juan Garces

CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, SC (WIS) - A young woman's life was cut short by a vicious and random act of violence and the family of the victim is finding it hard to cope after she was murdered so maliciously.

Officials say 30-year-old Beverly Hope Melton was found in a secluded area of Kershaw County after 23-year-old Nickolas Jermaine Miller lead Chesterfield County deputies to her body.

Investigators say Miller didn't get very far thanks to surveillance video at the store.They were able to track him down in his car.

The victim's family is relieved Miller is in jail, but their devastation and heartbreak are hard to handle.

"People don't know what they have, until they don't have it anymore," said Juan Garces, Melton's brother-in-law. "Her demeanor, she could take a bad situation and make it better."

But this situation was beyond Melton's control. Authorities say Melton told her grandmother she was being followed by Miller and that she was afraid of him. That was the last time anyone spoke to Melton.

After Kershaw County deputies were alerted of the possible abduction, Chesterfield County deputies found Melton's empty car in a ditch on Angelus Road in Jefferson.

Garces says Melton's shocking and gruesome murder has devastated their family. 

"Forgiveness is maybe not the hardest thing I'm dealing with," Garces added."The hardest thing is the anger."

Chesterfield County deputies say Miller confessed to kidnapping, raping and then brutally beating the 30-year-old to death with a baseball bat.

Once deputies caught up with him, they say he took them to Kershaw County where he killed Melton and hid the body behind two barns.

"Why would he do such a thing to somebody so innocent," Garces asked. "Who he never had a conversation with never knew her family, husband, mother, father."

The tragedy is also being felt where Melton worked.

Melton was well-known in the town of McBee. Bill Tolbert, the owner of "T and T's County Store" says she worked there for 12 years. She started as a clerk and then became manager.

Tolbert says Melton genuinely cared about her customers and co-workers at the store.

"She was a good person," Tolbert added. "She was loved by everybody. I don't know how a human being could do that to another human being."

Now Melton's family, friends and the community are left with many questions and few answers.

Miller is charged with murder in Kershaw County and kidnapping and criminal sexual assault in Chesterfield County. Bond will be set at a later date. 

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