AIKEN COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) — New details are emerging in a missing person case in Aiken County.
Chandler Smith was reported missing back last October. Investigators now believe he was shot and killed at a home on Tundra Trail in Aiken County. The case is now a murder investigation.
“It’s a horrible situation to be in, you know, you kind of left in limbo, you have you carry that last hope that you know, they’re alive somewhere,” Project Drew’s Rose Tullis told NewsChannel 6.
Tullis is well aware of how not knowing can affect families after she lost a son. “I can’t think of anything worse to lose a child. Nothing on this Earth can make me suffer more than that does. I guess that’s why I have a lot of empathy for these people who have missing children. I want them to have some closure,” she added.
Meanwhile, Smith’s family says he was last seen after being released from the Aiken County Detention Center. He was reportedly seen getting into a red car and hasn’t been seen since.
“You know, your, your mind, you know, common sense that this that or the other, you know, kind of figured things happen, you know, and that something bad had happened. Cause he’d been in contact with them,” Tullis added.
A man who did not want to go on camera says that he knew that family at the location where investigators believed Smith died. He grew up with a number of them but he didn’t have any details on what could have happened. Investigators took into custody one man Ricardo Negrete and charged him with accessory. The other suspects Jesus, Gonzalo, and Lorenzo Negrete are wanted on murder charges. The trio is believed to be in Mexico running there to avoid prosecution.
“It just seems like every day, you know, less people put a value on human life. That’s one of the most precious things there is,” Tullis shared.
While authorities continue to search for Smith’s remains, members of Project Drew say they still will continue to be there for Chandler’s family in spite of the latest development. “We’re not going nowhere. We’re family. If they need us, we’ll still be there,” Tullis added.
If you have any information, contact the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office or CrimeStoppers.
Meanwhile, a memorial service will be held in Chandler’s memory.
It will take place at Warrenville Revival on Howlandville Road in Warrenville on Saturday, March 20 at 3 p.m.