Body of missing college student found shot through the head; suspects arrested

mmcnab@beaufortgazette.comOctober 8, 2013 

[Video from WCBD News 2 can be found at the bottom of this story]

A Beaufort native missing since late last week was shot in the head and killed while riding in his pickup truck with two men who answered an ad he placed on Craigslist, Charleston County's sheriff said Tuesday.

The body of William Alexander Apps, 25, was found in a wooded area near an electrical substation on Magrath Darby Boulevard at about 8:30 p.m. Monday, according to Sheriff Al Cannon.

Charleston County Deputy Coroner Brittney Martin said Apps was killed by a gunshot wound to the head Thursday, the day he disappeared.

Apps, a former Okatie resident and Beaufort Academy student, was a senior at the College of Charleston, according to the school's media relations director, Mike Robertson.

Two men were arrested Monday and charged in Apps' death, Cannon said. Charleston resident Jquan Marquel Scott, 19, was charged with murder, kidnapping, armed robbery and possession of a firearm in the use of a violent crime. Charleston resident Isaac Romell Williams, 20, was charged with kidnapping.

Apps was trying to sell his 2006 Chevrolet K1500 pickup truck on Craigslist when he disappeared. He met with Scott and Williams at a Hardee's restaurant on Spring Street in Charleston at about 4 p.m. Thursday after the two men responded to his ad, Cannon said.

The sale was not completed, however, and Apps' mother, who was with her son before meeting Scott and Williams, returned to Beaufort County with the truck's title. It was unclear whether Apps' mother saw Scott and Williams.

Apps was last seen about an hour later near Mathis Ferry Road in Mount Pleasant, according to a Charleston Sheriff's Office news release.

Apps agreed to take the men to one of their homes, Cannon said. He was allowing one of them to drive when he was shot by Scott as they crossed the Arthur Ravenel Bridge, authorities said. Evidence in the truck, such as blood residue, indicates Apps was shot while sitting in the front passenger seat, Cannon said.

The two men dumped Apps' body in the woods along Magrath Darby Boulevard, then departed with his truck and credit cards, according to Cannon. Investigators said they have not recovered the handgun used to kill Apps.

Apps' mother reported him missing to the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office on Friday, Sheriff P.J. Tanner said. Apps' mother was worried he hadn't come home, but told investigators he had plans to attend a concert Friday night in Charleston, Tanner said.

After Apps failed to come home or contact her the next day, his mother filed a missing persons report late Saturday night, Tanner said. Charleston County investigators joined the search Sunday morning.

Investigators found that Apps' credit card had been used to make several purchases for food, gas and shoes, some in Beaufort County, Tanner said, and that helped authorities track down Scott. Tanner did not say why Scott was in the county.

Using the Craigslist ad and phone tracing, they were able to connect Scott to the meeting at Hardee's.

On Sunday, Sheriff's Office investigators met with Scott and his girlfriend in Jacksonboro, outside Charleston County. Scott arrived in Apps' truck and told them he had made a deal with Apps, but hadn't finalized paperwork on the sale.

Scott was cooperative and forthcoming with deputies during the meeting. With Apps unable to be reached or found, Tanner said Scott's story about completing the paperwork later was believable.

However, after conducting more interviews in both counties, inconsistencies began to pile up in Scott's story. On Monday, with evidence mounting against him, Scott -- still driving Apps' truck -- led investigators to Apps' body on Magrath Darby Boulevard.

Cannon said Scott was cooperative, but has changed his account of the events several times.

Apps was studying history and international business at the College of Charleston, according to Robertson, the school's media relations director.

While living in Charleston, Apps worked as a tour guide for the Carolina Polo and Carriage Co., a horse-drawn carriage tour company. A statement released Tuesday afternoon by owner Richard Rhett Knoth said he and the company were "deeply saddened and shocked by the tragic loss of Alexander Apps."

"Alex was a kind soul who passed his love of the Lowcountry on to thousands of visitors and locals alike," he said. "Alex was a faithful ambassador of our dear city, and he will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends."

Follow reporter Matt McNab at twitter.com/IPBG_Matt.


Videos

Beaufort County Sheriff PJ Tanner news conference, Oct. 9, 2013

From WCBD News 2 in Charleston: Sheriff's news conference, Oct. 8, 2013

(Video might not play on all devices; if you cannot view video here, try reading this story on our full site.)

WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

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