Special Report: Found & Lost

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Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller has asked the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to investigate how a newly-discovered piece of evidence in the Looper murders case disappeared.

The GPD put out a news release on Thursday, December 5 in which the department acknowledged finding the evidence in April of 2018 and subsequently losing the evidence.

Murder, etc. was the first to report police had found what Chief Miller described as a letter penned by a mistress of the 1975 Greenville County Sheriff that implicated the sheriff and members of his team in the Looper murders.

Williams was a trucking company dispatcher with no law enforcement experience before getting elected as sheriff. His four-year term was plagued by allegations of infidelity, corruption and murder-for-hire conspiracies.

Williams died in 2002 at the age of 74.

In a July 2019 meeting of the Greenville Public Safety Citizen Review Board, Miller told board members that same letter said Sheriff Williams and his team also worked to frame Charles Wakefield, Jr. for the Looper murders. You can read the full story and listen to the Murder, etc. report here: Special report: Cutting the Lock.

In late November 2019, Murder, etc. reported in Gone that the police had lost the evidence that had once been stored in the personnel locker room of the Greenville County Law Enforcement Center. Prior to December 5, the police would neither confirm nor deny the evidence was missing.

But in the December 5 news release, the department wrote, “The file folder has become missing. A thorough search of all investigator workstations, case files and file storage areas throughout GPD’s section of the Law Enforcement Center has been conducted, but the file folder has not been located.”

The police also acknowledged they have stored the .32 Rossi revolver Murder, etc. revealed in October Surprise. 

A 1975 ballistics report said a .32 Rossi was most likely the murder weapon. Don McIntyre, the son of a key witness against Charles Wakefield, Jr., told Murder, etc. he found the gun in a shoebox among his mother’s belongings. After the Murder, etc. report, police recovered the gun from McIntyre on October 31, 2019. Below is a short video of McIntyre with the gun.

McIntyre also said he didn’t believe his mother was actually at the scene of the crime on the day of the Looper murders.

Having looked in vain for the evidence, the GPD has now asked SLED and the FBI to investigate how the letter could have gone missing and what relevance to the case the .32 Rossi may have.

The GPD statement read, “Due to the nature and importance of these matters, Chief Miller has requested outside agency investigation into the loss of the file folder, assistance with the case review and a ballistics examination of the firearm. He commits GPD’s full support and cooperation in the process and in the interim, is reviewing and revising GPD security, access, and file protocols and controls for its Investigations Division.”

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Greenville media outlets picked up the story immediately. The Greenville News, WYFF-TV, Fox Carolina, and WSPA all produced reports about the lost evidence.

WSPA-TV traveled to Charlotte to speak directly with Charles Wakefield, Jr.

The Greenville Police Department has declined further comment pending the SLED and FBI investigations.

Nevertheless, Murder, etc. continues to speak to its sources and will provide updates of any new discoveries.

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Show notes:

Found & Lost is a special report broadcast on the day the Greenville Police Department finally publicly acknowledged it had lost potentially previously-unseen exculpatory evidence in the Looper murders case.

Chief Ken Miller has asked SLED and the FBI to investigate the disappearance of the file and assist in an overall review of the case.

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