Beaufort police say items a couple found over the weekend while staying at the Beaufort Inn are not linked to an attack there April 18 on a bride-to-be the night before her wedding.
The couple reported finding an unidentified pill on the floor, some shards of broken glass, blood on the mattress, a handprint on a window, cigarette butts outside and a pair of men's boxer shorts on the ground behind the cottage, according to a news release from the Beaufort Police Department issued Monday morning.
Police Chief Matt Clancy said later in the day the items were collected as evidence but probably won't do much to aid the investigation.
"We'll collect and secure those items, but at this time, they don't appear to be connected to this investigation," he said.
Investigators say no tests have been performed on the boxer shorts to determine if there is blood or any other genetic materials on them, and early tests on the pill indicate it's probably a vitamin, Clancy said.
Clancy said investigators thoroughly searched the area in and around the cottage twice after the attack. He said the blood stains and shards of glass that remained in the cottage were simply missed by hotel housekeepers.
"We secured that crime scene after the incident and collected all the evidence we felt we needed," he said.
Police say the couple had been staying in the room since Wednesday, the same cottage that Rhyan Mazur-Williamson and her husband, Michael, shared the night before their wedding April 18.
Upon returning to the cottage that night from a Bay Street restaurant at about 2 a.m., Mazur-Williamson said, an unknown man jumped on her, covered her mouth and repeatedly punched her, causing multiple fractures to her nose and face. She said she expects to undergo corrective surgery today to repair the fractures.
Clancy said he was glad the couple who believed they had found evidence called police, but added that the publicity generated by the attack probably led them to jump to conclusions about the items they had found.
"These people just realized that they were in the same room and started looking around," he said. "There is a heightened awareness to this case right now."
Investigators are awaiting results of tests done on several pieces of evidence collected the night of the attack and sent to the State Law Enforcement Division's DNA lab in Columbia for processing.
"We're hoping when physical evidence comes back from SLED, we'll have a clearer picture of our suspect," Clancy said. "We've requested that the work be done expeditiously, but everyone in the state is sending their evidence there, and everyone wants it back quickly. There is not an exact timetable for turnaround."