A South Carolina sheriff has asked for prayers for his deputies after they discovered the dismembered body of a man allegedly killed by his common-law wife and her son.
“In 28 years, this is probably the worst scene I have observed,” Cherokee County sheriff Steve Mueller said at a news conference. “It’s tough on our officers when you see such evil.”
Dawn Michelle Wilkins, 40, and Charles Jacob Bridges, 18, were charged with the murder of Gary James Stone Thursday, hours after the dismembered remains of the 51-year-old Stone were found.
Stone was discovered by authorities who went to his residence after concerns that he was missing, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said, according to wyff4.com.
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“His body was discovered dismembered in several containers under the residence,” Fowler said.
Prior to the discovery of Stone’s dismembered body, his sister made an emotional plea on Facebook for information about his whereabouts.
“Please please please if you have any information about his whereabouts please contact me or a family member or the Cherokee County Police Dept.” Sonya Dunaway Wilson wrote in the social media post.
On Nov. 3, Mueller said deputies were dispatched to a domestic incident at the home. When they arrived, they spoke to Stone, who indicated he and Bridges had an argument, foxcarolina.com reported. Bridges wasn’t there when the deputies arrived, and they were told he walked away to cool off.
Bridges returned and killed Stone, according to Mueller.
“According to our suspect, he choked the victim out, and later he stabbed the victim,” said Mueller, adding Stone was dismembered with several weapons before Bridges “pulled the body around to the rear of the home.”
Bridges told law enforcement he confronted Stone after an incident between the common-law couple, according to Mueller.
“He said he overheard stepfather and his mother arguing and he didn’t like some of the things that was said. So he was actually defending his mother’s honor,” said Mueller, adding Bridges claimed he had been hit by Stone.
Investigators said Wilkins was a willing participant in the homicide and might have helped move the body, although she denied involvement in the crime, foxcarolina.com reported.
“We feel like the mother was just as involved,” Mueller said. “She could have done more to prevent this from becoming a murder investigation.”
Mueller said deputies were asked to do a welfare check by Stone’s family at the home Nov. 8, but found nothing unusual, according to wncn.com.
Wilkins told authorities she had not heard from Stone, wyff4.com reported.
Mueller said deputies returned with a search warrant after they received a tip Thursday with detailed information about a slaying at the address. During their search, deputies found containers with the Stone’s body inside.
“It’s not normal to see this type of evil on a daily basis, even in law enforcement,” Mueller said.
Wilkins and Bridges are being held at Cherokee County Detention Center without bond.