York County coroner identifies 3 people found dead in home near Clover

York County deputies investigate deaths of three people in Clover

The York County Sheriff's Office is investigating the deaths of three people in Clover.
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The York County Sheriff's Office is investigating the deaths of three people in Clover.

York County coroner officials have made presumptive identifications of the three people found dead in a home near Clover on Wednesday.

The bodies of two women and a man were found in the house by officials doing a well-being check at 331 Griggs Road, deputies said.

The women were identified as presumed to be Susan Gardner, 69, and her sister, Ruth Allred, 77, said York County Coroner Sabrina Gast.

Gast said it is unclear how or when the women died.

The man was identified as presumed to be Thomas Stephen Gardner Jr., 45, according to the coroner and a York County Sheriff’s Office report. He is Susan Gardner’s son, Gast said.

Thomas Gardner is listed as living at the home, deputies said.

“Thomas Stephen Gardner was located dead inside the residence,” a sheriff’s office report stated. “Two other persons were located dead inside the residence.”

Gardner died of an apparent suicide, said Gast and Trent Faris, spokesman for the sheriff’s office. Detectives have not said foul play is involved in the other deaths.

Deputies found the man first, then located the two women in back rooms, Faris said.

Cause and manner of death for the two women has not been determined, Gast said. Toxicology and autopsy results remain pending and it could take weeks before more information about the deaths is known, Gast said.

Autopsies are scheduled for all three at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Coroner and sheriff officials have not yet determined how long the two women had been deceased before being found. The investigation is complex and involves forensics and other evidence review and interviews, Faris said.

“We are not at a point where we can release any other details about the case,” Faris said.

Neighbors on Griggs Road told The Herald they had not seen the women outside the home in several years.

Deputies were called by S.C. Department of Social Services for a well-being check at the home Wednesday, according to a sheriff’s office report. That request came two weeks after the last well-being check at the house July 16, Faris said.

The sheriff’s report states a DSS agent who went to the home works for adult protective services at DSS. It remains unclear why DSS asked deputies to assist at the scene or how many clients DSS had at the home.

According to the DSS website, state agents are tasked with protecting the health and welfare of elderly, disabled and vulnerable adults.

“Adult Protective Services and the Domestic Violence Program are a part of this Division,” the DSS website states. “The division coordinates services to individuals who are 18 or older and are the victims of actual or potential abuse, neglect, self-neglect or exploitation.”

Pam Bryant, communications director for S.C. DSS, said Friday the York County DSS agent who asked for a police escort Wednesday was responding to a report that met DSS criteria to go in the house. Bryant confirmed that on July 16, DSS agents made contact with a person at the home for a well-being check.

Bryant declined to say what information was reported to DSS officials that day or who asked for the check, citing confidentiality laws for adult protective cases.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

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