Two Edgefield County men have charged with luring a neighbor to the woods over the weekend and killing him in a robbery-related slaying, authorities said.
On Sunday night, deputies responded to a wooded area along Deep Step Road in the southern tip of Edgefield County. A hunter, scouting on National Forest property, located the body of a white male, identified as 42-year-old Christopher Lathrop.
An investigation by sheriff’s officials with the help of the coroner’s office and SLED agents determined that Lathrop had been killed by multiple gunshot wounds to the neck and arms.
“The identification of Lathrop led to his last known address on Hayes Drive in Edgefield County and the investigation revealed suspicious activity of Lathrop and his two neighbors,” Sheriff Jody Rowland said in a press release. “Investigators learned the three men had been together the previous day and that Brock and Barfield lured Lathrop to the remote area where they shot and killed him.”
Arrested and charged with murder is 19-year-old William Patrick Edward Barfield, and 20-year-old Devon Raye Brock, both of Hayes Drive in Edgefield County. They are also charged with armed robbery and weapon possession.
All three of them lived in the same trailer park, the sheriff said. A motive has not been released except for the fact that a robbery is involved.
The car used in the crime was recovered from Barfield’s family. The suspected murder weapon was recovered during a search of the home of suspect Brock.
Sheriff Rowland said, “To solve this case in just over twenty-four hours is remarkable. Our Deputies and Investigators worked around the clock gathering evidence and investigating leads that resulted in these arrests. I’m proud of the quality work performed by our team. In addition, we are grateful to our partners at SLED, the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office as well as Homeland Security for assisting us with a difficult identification of the victim.”
An autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday morning.
(Note: If you have a photo of Christopher to share, please text it to 803-487-3224).