Woman found dead along Edgefield County highway identified, suspect in custody


EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – An Edgefield County man sits in jail Monday night facing charges in connection to a homicide. Captain Jason Ramey with the sheriff’s office said it all started when two men were driving separately along Highway 23 near Modoc. The they saw a woman lying on the shoulder of the road. And after stopping and calling for help, police arrived learned she was dead.

“The female has been identified as Brandi Bearden, 32, of Trenton, South Carolina,” Capt. Ramey said during a press conference in Edgefield.

The two witnesses discovered the body of Bearden at Red Oak Grove Road along Highway 23 Sunday afternoon. The Sheriff’s Office declared it a homicide by that evening. An incident report states the responding officer noticed wounds on her leg and face. Capt. Ramey said quick police work helped to identify a suspect in the case.

“We used several different family members and different witnesses and resources within our scope and within our network to help identify a suspect,” he said.

Deputies arrested 30-year-old Austin Hunter Randolph in the Clearwater area of Aiken County. It’s unclear what his relationship is to Bearden, but the two lived at the same home on Running Ridge Drive in Trenton. Randolph is being charged with murder and manslaughter. Ramey said a rifle was found in Randolph’s vehicle.

He added Randolph is not an unfamiliar name. “There is a history here with the sheriff’s office. Not necessarily criminal.”

While the family chooses not to talk at this time, a friend shares with NewsChannel 6 that “Brandi was always laughing. She loved everyone and had the biggest heart. We’re all shocked. This absolutely doesn’t make any sense.”

Another family friend, Justin Brighthop, told us, “When I was in elementary school, I grew up with them, riding the bus. Her and her sister were always nice and of course, we had good times with her brother.”

Brighthop added he was younger than Bearden, but has known her and her family for years. He said he’s in shock by the news of her death.

He said, “She always said hey, hello. They were real nice girls.”

The family has created a Gofundme Account to help with funeral expenses.


EDGEFIELD COUNTY, S.C. (WJBF) – A homicide investigation is underway after the body of a woman was found on the side of the road in Edgefield County.

Capt. Jason Ramey tells us that 32-year old Brandi Bearden was found dead Sunday around 2:30 p.m. along Red Oak Grove Road at Highway 23.

30-year old Austin Randolph has been arrested and remains in the Edgefield County Jail.

Randolph was apprehended in the Clearwater area of Aiken County.

Police recovered a firearm from the vehicle.

This is Edgefield County’s 1st homicide of 2021.

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