At one point, the neighbor who dialed 911 last Friday thought the body in the driveway was a dog.
She told an emergency dispatcher that she, her husband and others in her home watched a fight between neighbors they did not know well at the Mount Gallant Road house next door. She said that “he” ran someone over repeatedly, according to a recording of the 911 call released on Tuesday.
Minutes after begging for emergency personnel to make their way to the River Pines subdivision, the woman and her family thought they might have mistaken a human body under the wheels of a red Chevrolet Tahoe for a dog that their neighbor “Josh” ran over.
Deputies charged Joshua Matthew Grose with two counts of murder after they say he ran over Sandra Thomas, 53, with her own car while trying to steal it before he ran over his stepmother, 65-year-old Sandra Grose, in the River Pines subdivision off Mount Gallant Road. Both women died of blunt force trauma to the chest, York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said.
Police swarmed the neighborhood, blocking it off for much of Friday night as investigators tried to piece together details. By early Saturday, deputies had charged Grose, 34, and taken him into custody. They issued warrants charging him with larceny and attempted murder after they say he assaulted his uncle, Curtis Alan Sisk, 60. Sisk was found in a red Chevrolet, bloodied and beaten but alert, according to a police report.
Joshua Grose died on Sunday of blunt force trauma to the head after officials say he repeatedly injured himself while at the York County Detention Center. As soon as he arrived there Friday, he became combative, self-destructive and uncooperative with jail guards, police said. He hit his head several times against the jail cell wall and tried to drown himself in the toilet. He was placed in a restraint chair but continued to bang his head against the back of the chair even after officers placed a helmet on him.
Jailors noticed cuts at the back of his head and called for medical help at about 1:20 a.m. Sunday. He was not taken to the hospital because the cuts did not require stitches, said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Trent Faris. Jail officials put Grose on suicide watch, checking him every 15 minutes. About an hour later, he was found unresponsive. Paramedics determined that he went into cardiac arrest. Workers performed CPR while taking Grose to Piedmont Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead in the emergency room at 3:05 a.m. Sunday.
The coroner’s office has not made an official ruling on his death, Gast said. Toxicology tests are pending.
The State Law Enforcement Division is investigating his death.
Although the primary suspect is dead, Faris said deputies are still investigating in hopes of giving family members answers as to what exactly happened on Friday.
He was unable to say if Sisk was hit by a car or suffered injuries at Joshua Grose’s hands. The crime scene, he said, was “pretty complicated” because deputies had “two different crime scenes in one area.”
Without a live suspect, deputies have to rely on evidence collected at the scene, Faris said. He would not comment on that evidence, saying it’s part of the investigation. There is no indication that anyone else was involved in the double homicide, he said.
If the investigation “does not implicate anyone living, then the matter would be closed,” said 16th Circuit Solicitor Kevin Brackett; there would be no prosecution without a living person.
By Saturday morning, officials released Sandra Thomas’ identity. They released Sandra Grose’s identity only after exhausting all other leads to find family to notify about the death. Officials on Sunday evening managed to reach Sandra Grose’s family after releasing her name, Gast said. Members of the community called the coroner’s office and gave Gast’s office details that helped them find Sandra Grose’s family – a brother in North Carolina, two sisters and Sandra Grose’s mother.
Hours before deputies found Sandra Thomas and Sandra Grose both dead outside their respective homes, the call about a fight came in at 5:47 p.m. It lasted seven minutes and 41 seconds.
“There seems to be a bad fight next door,” the neighbor, a woman, told a 911 dispatcher on Friday. “One’s on the ground. One’s just got up.”
The dispatcher asked for the address, but the neighbor gave her own. She told the dispatcher that the fight was happening next door, and people in her house were watching through windows.
“There’s something going on bad,” she said. “I think he just ran her over ... he’s running her over! He’s running them over in his driveway. Oh, please, hurry up.”
In the background, several others yelled about “him” running people over. The neighbor on the phone told the dispatcher the suspect was “running him over repeatedly in a truck.”
Seconds later, the woman told the dispatcher that her husband walked outside with a gun. The woman keeps asking for the dispatcher to send help.
“Ma’am, they’re already en route,” the dispatcher told her. “I can’t make them go any faster. They can’t fly. They’re in cars. Is the person that was run over, are they getting up?”
Family members in the background told the woman on the phone that they thought the man might have run the “guy’s dog over.”
“So, the person did not run over another human, they ran over a dog?” the dispatcher asked.
“We don’t really know,” the woman said. “Whatever it was, he was backing up on it, backing up.”
The woman told the dispatcher she did not see any weapons, but her husband said, “He’s acting completely insane.”
The woman’s husband got on the phone and said he thought someone hit a dog and then a man went “berserk.”
“I thought his mother had beaten on him,” he said. “It looked like a woman hit him.”
When the dispatcher asked if there was anything else going on, the husband replied: “No, but if he comes over here, I’m going to shoot him.”
He then reported that the suspect went into the house. He said the car, a red Chevrolet, was still running in the driveway. Seconds later, he and the dispatcher both hung up.
When deputies arrived at the Grose home, they found Joshua Grose standing naked, appearing as if he had just taken a shower.
The family who made the call declined to comment on Tuesday.