4 dead in apparent murder-suicide near Irmo

ccope@thestate.comJanuary 15, 2014 

  • Video: Richland County coroner IDs family of four found dead (:51)

  • Domestic Violence in South Carolina

    • The state’s rate of women killed by men is 2.54 per 100,000, more than double the national average.

    • 61 women in S.C. were reported killed at the hands of men, according to 2011 crime data.

    • S.C. has been ranked in the top 10 states every year for the past 10 years.

    • Guns were the most common weapon used to kill women.

    SOURCE: Violence Policy Center study of 2011 data

— A husband, wife and their two young children are dead following an apparent murder-suicide near Irmo, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

The four were found Wednesday morning after police were called around 10:30 to the home at 1 Forest Walk Court in the Riverwalk neighborhood off Broad River Road.

The children were discovered in their individual bedrooms, and the two adults were found together in their bedroom, said Sgt. Curtis Wilson, spokesman for Richland County Sheriff’s Department. Each of the four was shot in the upper body, he said.

A handgun was found near the father, Wilson said. The sheriff’s department’s initial assessment is that the incident was a domestic situation. Wilson said authorities would investigate whether any previous domestic violence calls had been made to the house.

The man’s mother had not heard from her son in a couple of days, went to the house, discovered the bodies and called authorities, Wilson said.

Neither the sheriff’s department nor the Richland County Coroner’s Office would identify the victims. But Richland County property records show the house is owned by Sheddrick and Kia Miller, who bought the home in 2012.

Wilson said authorities are working to determine when the four were killed.

Rachel Hinson, 25, said she had attended bible study at the family’s home and went to Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses with them. She described them as a good family. She said she thought each of the children was younger than 5.

Hinson’s grandmother lives near the family’s house.

“It’s confusing, and it’s not understandable why something like that would happen,” Hinson said.

South Carolina ranks worst in the nation when it comes to men killing women, according to a report by the Violence Policy Center in Washington.

The most-recent Midlands murder-suicide of this magnitude, in which four or more people were killed, was in 2011 when Chancey Foy Smith killed 27-year-old Amanda Peake and her two children in Lexington County’s Red Bank community before turning the gun on himself.

Reach Cope at 803-771-8657.

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