Coroner releases cause of death in 18-year-old's murder

Published: Feb. 28, 2014 at 1:26 PM EST|Updated: Mar. 9, 2014 at 1:50 PM EDT
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Briana Nicole Rabon
Briana Nicole Rabon

ELGIN, SC (WIS) - The Kershaw County Coroner has released the cause of death for the 18-year-old Lugoff-Elgin High School graduate found dead on a dirt road in Elgin.

Coroner Johnny Fellers says Briana Nicole Rabon died as a result of strangulation.

Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews said they are now seeking a person of interest in connection with the homicide case.

A young girl riding an ATV found Rabon's body lying in the road and she called her dad for help around 3:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"My daughter had to ride back there and actually see the body lying back there and she came back and got me to come back and check it," said neighbor Ken Mixon. "We ride back there to check it and identified that it was a body."

Mixon's daughter told him she recognized Rabon as a classmate at Lugoff-Elgin High.

Matthews said he doesn't know the cause of death or where the Rabon was killed.

SLED investigators spent several hours collecting evidence from two separate crime scenes near the body.

"We have a good deal of evidence that was collected by SLED. We have some DNA evidence, we have some prints. We have other kinds of evidence I really can't go into right now. But we could be doing a lot worse," said Matthews.

Investigators said they found Rabon's car several miles away at a Waffle House on Highway 601 in Camden.

Deputies said they don't know how she got there but know a man was with Rabon Tuesday night. They are currently looking for him.

"There's no real indication that who she was with is responsible for this, but it is certainly somebody we want to talk to," Matthews said. "We are gathering a lot of evidence and I can't ever say with 100 percent certainty, but I feel pretty confident that we'll have a real strong person of interest soon in this case."

Mixon said he worries about the impact on his daughter after what she saw Wednesday, but said he knows it's nothing compared to what the victim's family is going through.

"I just hope the family, let them know that we're praying for them and hope everything will be okay with the family," Mixon said.

The family -- specifically Rabon's mother, Linda Reynolds -- has spent the day preparing for the teen's funeral.

"There's somebody out there that knows something," said Reynolds. "No matter how small or whether you think it's anything you think really matters, please call the sheriff's department so we can find the person who hurt Briana. I mean a mother shouldn't have to plan a funeral today like I've had to plan. We're just asking for somebody to help."

If you know anything about the death of Briana Rabon, you are urged to call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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