I grew up here in Fort Mill and can remember when it was much smaller than it is today. With its quaint size and southern feel, Fort Mill seems like it'd be the ideal locale for those seeking the peace of small town living; however, I have not found that to be the case exactly.
On May 20, The Charlotte Observer ran the headline: "Police Find Body: Tip leads to rural S.C. site." That rural S.C. site just so happens to be our collective backyard off Vista Road. I went to Yahoo Maps and calculated the distance from my house to the dead body at 1.2 miles. It's good to know that it would take 15 minutes to drive to the nearest hospital, but less than two minutes to get to the nearest murdered corpse ... depending on the traffic. We don't yet know the motive for this murder, but one thing we do know for certain: the body was found 1.2 miles from my house.
It's one thing to have a murdered corpse dumped in your backyard, but the problem I have is that this is not the first corpse that's been dumped here. I have no problem with finding a dead corpse: I have a problem with multiple corpses - corpses in the plural. In October 2005 a human skeleton was found in the woods of the very same road. I don't believe the authorities ever ascertained the man's identity, but one thing we do know for certain: the body was found 1.2 miles from my house.
In 2006 another dead body was found inside a burning truck in the very same area. This vehicle was intentionally set on fire and inside was a body that had been shot several times. I don't know if this murder was ever solved, but one thing we do know for certain: the body was found 1.2 miles from my house.
I was reading the news about this most recent body and they interviewed a resident of this neighborhood, Cindy Meffert, who recounted seeing the search helicopters over her house and immediately thought: "Oh no, I hope they didn't find another body."
I think that's quite telling: not only was she concerned about them finding a body in her neighborhood, she's concerned about them finding another body in her neighborhood.
Most neighborhoods have problems with residents not maintaining their lawns or parking too many cars on the street. This neighborhood has a problem with dead bodies. Whereas most neighborhoods might have problems with illegal dumping of yard waste, this neighborhood has a problem with illegal dumping of human corpses.
N.I.M.B.Y. is a common acronym in politics: Not In My Back Yard. It generally applies when people don't want nuclear reactors or landfills built in their neighborhood. In this case, I'm pretty N.I.M.B.Y. about dead bodies. Generally I'm not concerned about what happens on other people's property, but I've got to draw the line when it comes to murdered corpses.
I'm not sure what the normal rate of cadaver recovery is, but what I do know is that we have one road, two and a half years, and three dead bodies. I'm not a criminologist, but one corpse per year just seems a little high.
Somewhere along the line it seems that Fort Mill has become the acceptable disposal site for murdered bodies. When it comes to body disposal, Vista Road is to Charlotte what the East River is to New York City.
I don't think anyone should be comfortable with that.