PICKENS COUNTY — Upon completing their investigation, the Pickens County Sheriffs Office determined that Jessica Edens used a stolen gun in the shooting deaths of Meredith Rahme and Edens’ children — 5-year-old Harper Edens and 9-year-old Hayden King — before taking her own life.
According to a release, Edens went into her parents’ home the day before the shootings and stole a .40-caliber handgun while the parents were out of town.
“That weapon, which was legally owned by the parents, is believed to be the same weapon used in the Greenville murder and the murder/suicide that subsequently occurred inside the shooter’s vehicle while parked in Pickens County,” PCSO Chief Deputy Creed Hashe stated. “The Sheriff’s Office has reviewed telephone records obtained via search warrants that have confirmed that Mrs. Edens became distraught following a Family Court preceding that was held earlier the same week prior to the Thursday shootings.”
Texts messages and other written content clearly indicate Edens developed a plan in the next couple of days that she felt would “cause everlasting consequences” for her husband Benjamin Edens, Hashe said.
According to reports, the scene discovered at The Greenville-Pickens Speedway on July 13 stemmed from events that began a couple of hours earlier when a woman later identified as 28-year-old Meredith Rahme was shot and killed in a downtown Greenville parking garage.
“The investigation has confirmed that Mrs. Edens drove her vehicle directly from the parking garage in Greenville just moments after Ms. Rahme was murdered to the site where it was later discovered by a passing motorist at the speedway,” said Hashe. “Based on a phone call made by Mrs. Edens to her husband while he was in the presence of Greenville authorities, along with other evidence and observations at the scene, it is believed that the children were shot while seated in the rear cargo area of the SUV.”
There were no signs of a struggle, he said.
The release states detectives feel that the children were shot before Mrs. Edens placed what would be her final phone call to her husband and then she took her own life as she sat in the back seat of the Jeep.
“As we struggle to understand how a parent could possibly come to a decision such as this, we have to focus on tomorrow and the opportunity to provide services and solutions to those that feel that their life and the lives of their loved ones must end in order to find peace,” said Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark. “We live in a stressful world during difficult times but there are resources that stand ready to offer help and assist you if you feel that you have no other options left in life.
“Please reach out to law enforcement so that we can be the bridge to lead you to a road of recovery,” he added. “In time, you will see that all things come to pass and you too can become a stronger person with hope and faith in a brighter future. All of us need a helping hand from time to time as we walk through life and asking for help is not a sign of weakness that any of us should be ashamed of. The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office would like to publicly thank our colleagues at the Greenville Police Department for their cooperation and support throughout this heartbreaking investigation.”
Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.