His death was declared a homicide and three people have been identified as murder suspects. (See full story below.)
Hightower’s death never made headlines. In an apparent investigative decision, the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office and the Aiken County Coroner never announced the death of the 70-year-old robbery victim. He was quietly buried while investigators sought to identify his killers.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Shunn said Sunday that the victim’s family was aware of their efforts.
“We were working on the leads in order to find the suspects,” he said in an email to The Jail Report. “We have to exhaust that before going to the media.”
An obituary for Hightower was published in the local newspaper. It didn’t mention the cause of death. According to the obit, Hightower died on the morning of May 19 at Augusta University Medical Center. Funeral services were held May 27.
Hightower was owner and operator of Robert’s Cab Service for over 10 years.
The murder suspects have been identified as 20-year-old Marcus Allen Turner, of Warrenville, 19-year-old Rakim Alan Barton, and 24-year-old David Jerome Jacobs Jr. of Beech Island. All are facing charges of murder and strong armed robbery, according to sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Shunn.
Turner is still being sought.
On March 29, the driver and his companion of a local cab company picked up three men around 1:30 am from Clearwater Village Apartments. When the driver arrived at their destination off Huber Clay Road, the three suspects exited the vehicle, refused to pay the driver and struck the driver in his head. The suspects stole some items from the driver and his companion. The suspects fled on foot from where they were dropped off.
Investigators, working with SLED, was able to create three composite drawings of the suspects as described by one of the victims.
Sheriff’s investigators were notified by the Aiken County Coroner office that the victim died on May 19th at an area hospital after seeking medical attention for injuries sustained from this incident. After a thorough investigation by the Aiken County Coroner, the victim’s death has been ruled a homicide.
If anyone has any information on the whereabouts of Turner, contact the Aiken County Sheriff Office at 803-648-6811 or CrimeStoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.