SLED investigating homicide after fire chief dies of stab wound

Alan Oakley (Source:
Alan Oakley (Source:
Melody Oakley (Source: Orangeburg-Calhoun Regional Detention Center)
Melody Oakley (Source: Orangeburg-Calhoun Regional Detention Center)

BRANCHVILLE, SC (WIS) - The South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division is investigating the death of Branchville's fire chief as a homicide.

The Orangeburg Times and Democrat reports Deputy Coroner Sean Fogle confirmed 48-year-old Alan Richard Oakley died Saturday of a stab wound to the neck. The report says Oakley died at his home on Ott Street.

SLED officials told WIS the death is being investigated as a homicide.

According to the T and D article, Oakley was employed by the Orangeburg County Fire District and was president of the Orangeburg County Firefighter's Association.

News travels fast in a town like Branchville

"When things happen, it definitely becomes big news, said neighbor Elizabeth Ethridge who said she woke up to a crime scene early Sunday morning.

"It was like the 4th of July next door," she said. "Fire trucks, town police. It's been a real shock to find out, you know, little bits and pieces from around town."

Down the road at the fire department, the flag is at half-staff and there's a black wreath hanging over a door. Oakley was fire chief for more than a decade.
"It's just been really hard for the town to take that something like this happened," said Ethridge.

Branchville firefighters say Oakley will be given military honors at his funeral. He retired from the National Guard.

Visiting hours are Friday from 6-8 p.m. at Branchville High School. Oakley's funeral is at 11 a.m. Saturday at the high school.

Oakley's 40-year-old wife, Melody, is in custody at Orangeburg-Calhoun Regional Detention Center. She was charged with murder and conspiracy/common law on Sunday.

Orangeburg County authorities have not confirmed if her arrest is in connection with the stabbing.

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