Investigation continues into girl's body found burned in Hopkins
(Columbia) April 21, 2004 - Richland County officials have identified a 15-year-old girl who was burned and beaten to death. Her body was found early Saturday in southern Richland County near Montgomery and Pincushion Roads just off Highway 378 after fire crews responded to a brush fire.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says he used dental records to identify Silene Eaddy of Columbia. Eaddy lived in Columbia. A missing person's report filed by her family helped investigators identify her. She was last seen leaving her home between 7:00pm and 7:30pm April 15th.
Investigators are now trying to determine the timeline of Eaddy's disappearance and murder.
Mary Revels worked with Eaddy in a volunteer program and remembers her as a caring child. She doesn't understand how something like this could have happened, "We would read together, write, draw. She loved to draw. She said she wanted to become an artist."
Identifying the victim is investigator's best lead so far in finding her killer, because until Monday all they had to go on was a necklace.
Eaddy was wearing a necklace with a charm of a shoe or boot when investigators say someone severely beat her and then set her body on fire. Firefighters found the teen's body in the woods early Saturday morning in Hopkins.
Columbia Fireman David Crossland was fighting a brush fire when he made the gruesome discovery of a teenager's body engulfed in flames, "No matter how many times you see that, you're never used to it. It's not a good discovery."
Crossland and his firefighters immediately dropped the water hose and called the sheriff's department.
Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says the person who brutally took Eaddy's life must pay, "It's obviously extremely violent. A lot of underlying issues that would go into something like that. it's a very tragic situation."
The Richland County Sheriff's Department is investigating the girl's slaying. Officials say they have no suspects in the case.
Reporting by Catherine Reynolds
Updated 4:56pm by BrettWitt