SC woman’s body found in donation box after going missing for 9 months

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KERSHAW COUNTY, SC — Authorities in South Carolina are investigating who put a woman’s body in a clothing donation bin on New Year’s Eve.

The victim was reported missing in March and the circumstances of her death remain a mystery.

Leslie Lemoine’s daughter, Hannah Gates, said she drove past the Camden West Inn for nine months while searching for her mother, unaware that her body was just feet away.

Gates said she and her family have been searching for her mother since March.

“I feel like we’re getting some closure that we’ve needed for nine months, and it’s hard, but we’re all processing it in our own way, and we know it’s still a journey, you know, to get justice for her “- said Gates.

This journey begins with finding out how her mother died and how she ended up in a donation box that hadn’t been checked in months.

“We believe that the location where we found her was exactly where her body was dumped,” Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan said. “So it’s a dump. Not necessarily the place where she died.’

Boan said now that they have a positive identification of the body, they can move forward with the investigation.

“We’ll start tracking from there and find out what happened to her and who put her in the container,” Boan said.

Coroner David West initially thought it would take up to six months to get a positive ID, but he says a tattoo on Lemoine’s calf, which her daughter recognized on the body, has sped up the process, but the condition the body was found in will make it a little harder to know. how she died.

“We’re moving beyond toxicology,” West said. “Try to get some tissue out and stuff like that. They’re lucky to get some of it out. So we’re going over there, trying to get something out of there and it’s going to be sent out for testing.”

This will show if there were drugs in Lemoine’s system. They also plan to send her bones to an anthropologist to look for trauma.

The next step for Gates and her family is to gain legal custody of Lemoine’s 10-year-old daughter, Haven, and while she said she feels at peace now, she hoped her mother would one day return.

“I replayed the conversation many times in my mind,” Gates said. “At first I thought I was still going to be angry. At first I was screaming, ‘Do you know where you were?’ Why did you just leave, and over time it got to the point where I just wanted to hug her and tell her that I forgive her.”

Gates said she will remember her mother as a kind and generous woman. At this stage, investigators are collecting statements from the community and video from the hotel’s surveillance cameras.

SC woman’s body found in donation box after going missing for 9 months

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