RICHLAND COUNTY, SC (WIS) - Investigators are still searching for a motive in a murder case where the ex-boyfriend of a Columbia woman allegedly shot and killed her late last week.
Richland County Sheriff's deputies arrested Andre Heatley Jr., 22, Saturday morning in the 7700 block of Broad River Road and charged with murder and armed robbery.
Coroner Gary Watts says Deanndra Roach, 19, of Columbia, died from complications from several gunshot wounds. Investigators say she was shot some time overnight Thursday into Friday, after Roach left for work.
Roach's body was found Friday afternoon in the woods off Farrow Road by a man walking his dog.
Investigators say just moments after the murder, Heatley was captured on video surveillance cameras using Roach's debit card at three separate locations. Deputies say the debit card usage led to his quick arrest.
"We were able to question him," said Lt. Curtis Wilson. "And also we were able to find out that the suspect also used the victim's credit card."
Heatley was charged with armed robbery in relation to the use of Roach's debit card. Wilson said Heatley knew Roach's Personal Identification Number and withdrew cash from three ATMs and bought a watch online.
"It was based on the surveillance video we had," Wilson said of Heatley's arrest. "The fact that he was in possession of the victim's debit card and, of course, talking with acquaintances, as well as the victim's friends. Not even an hour after the victim was located, we discovered he used the victim's debit card at a few ATM locations throughout the area and he placed some orders as well."
According to SLED reports, Heatley first faced charges in 2012 for shoplifting and again in 2014. In July 2015, he was charged with discharging a weapon into a dwelling and then his most recent charge from Saturday with murder and armed robbery.
Roach's parents were at the court hearing Saturday afternoon. They say "Dee Dee" was a 2015 graduate of Blythewood High School and she planned to go into the Air Force. She also was a member of Rehoboth Baptist Church's youth ministry and choir.
"Part of the difficult thing now is every time I think I see her exiting the sanctuary and doing that slight smile that she would always do," said Pastor Ivory Thigpen. "We pray for swift justice."
Roach's science teacher Michael Varnadore at Blythewood High School remembered the victim following the tragic event.
"Dee was someone that I looked forward to seeing each day," Varnadore said. "She would walk in and ask, 'How's your day going Mr. Vee?' With her smile, she could dissolve any stress that I might be experiencing. She was a true joy. Dee would come to me to discuss issues, not necessarily in her life, but in the world in general. She was in-tune with what was happening in the world around her and how it affected her life. She would tell me her plans for life and what she wanted to accomplish. She made me laugh, not only at some of the quirky things she'd say, but at myself. Kindness comes to mind. She had a big heart and made everyone she spoke with feel valuable and that they mattered. I am truly saddened with the loss of Dee. I know she is in a better place and looking at the sunshine today. I know she is smiling down on us. She made me a better person in the fact that I was able to know her."
Roach's family is holding a candlelight vigil from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at Vive Church, 2630 Clemson Road, Columbia.
Heatley was taken to the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center. He remains in custody until his bond can be determined in general sessions court.
Investigators have not yet determined a motive; however, Heatley and Roach still communicated with each other even after they had broken up. Anyone with information or who has a connection to the victim or suspect, is asked to call CRIMESTOPPERS at 1-888-CRIME-SC.