A missing Cherryvale woman is now thought to be a homicide victim after her body was found in the woods Thursday, buried in a shallow, muddy grave and dead of an apparent gunshot wound.
The body of Suzette Ginther, 27, was discovered by a hunter in Manchester National Forest near Camp Burnt Gin southwest of Sumter just after 4 p.m. on Nov. 16, Deputy Ken Bell, public information officer for the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office, told The Sumter Item at the scene Friday.
The hunter – who has been cleared as a suspect – had been canvassing the swampy, hilly woods the day before for places to set up hunting cameras, Bell said. When he returned on Thursday, he noticed a raised swatch of dirt and leaves.
Ginther had been buried in a circular hole set back about 150 feet from the road that was no deeper than 18 inches.
She was reported missing earlier Thursday by her employer after she failed to show up at PetSmart in Columbia.
“We suspect foul play and are treating it as a homicide,” Sumter County Sheriff Anthony Dennis said in a news release.
Investigators with the Sumter County Coroner’s Office determined the identity of the body. An autopsy is scheduled to be performed to confirm a cause of death.
SLED is assisting with the investigation.