A 15 year old girl is found beaten and burned to death less than 5 miles from home
7:30 pm: Silene leaves her home on Fountain Lake Road
Silene walks from her house to a neighbor’s house who lives around the corner. She is seen leaving her home by the neighbor across the street, who lets her mother Brenda McCoy know that Silene is wandering off. Her mother attempts to find out where she is going, but Silene brushes her off.
Silene does not return home
Though Silene frequently wandered off, she always returned home. When Silene does not return home that evening or the following evening, her family becomes concerned but does not call the police, due to Silene's habit of running off.
5:00 am: Firefighters are called to the site of a small brush fire
A person driving on the outskirts of town notices a small brush fire at the intersection of Pincushion Road and Montgomery Lane and calls the fire department.
General Location Of Silene's Body (Approximate Location)
5:00-5:30 am: A body is found in the center of a small brush fire
The badly beaten and burned body of a teenage girl is discovered by firemen who are called to put out the brush fire. Sheriff's deputies take over, and the body is transported to the medical examiner's office. Reports mention soot was found in the lungs, indicating that the person was likely to have been alive when set on fire, but this could not be confirmed by the ME.
Silene's identity is confirmed through dental records
Based on an earlier missing person report that Brenda had filed on Silene, investigators suspect the body may belong to the young girl. They obtain Silene's dental records, which turn out to be a match to the body that was found.
Richland County Coroner's Office
Brenda is called to the medical examiner's office to identify the body
Brenda is called to the medical examiner's office to see if she can identify the body as belonging to Silene. When Brenda sees the necklace with a charm of a shoe that her daughter always wore, she confirms her identity.
Parent of Victim
Richland County investigators feel close to resolving Silene's murder and reach out to the public for assistance
Investigators indicate that the sheriff's department has run driver's license checkpoints, gone door to door, and worked through churches to find out who killed Silene. They feel that those with information have maintained a code of silence, but they're confident that they are close. They appeal to the public for anyone with information to step forward, but no arrests are ultimately made.
Richland County Sheriff's Department
Richland County deputies begin working Silene's murder as a cold case
With no arrests having been made and no new leads, Silene's case is turned over to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department’s cold case unit, which begins working Silene's unsolved murder. In 2015, Dottie Cronise takes on the case and works tirelessly, along with the rest of her unit, to find justice for Silene.
Silene was last seen here before she disappeared.