Sentinel Progress

No known motive for kidnapping

PICKENS COUNTY — The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office is continuing their investigation into the alleged kidnapping of a woman from her residence on Holly Springs School Road Sunday morning.

According to PCSO Chief Deputy Creed Hashe, the PCSO was notified at approximately 12:30 p.m. by the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office in reference to an abandoned Jeep Cherokee registered to a Pickens County resident.

The vehicle was found on the roadside of Highway 183 near the Oconee Nuclear Station in Oconee County, he said.

As Pickens County deputies were responding to the (Pickens County) residence to investigate, Oconee authorities made contact and said that they had located the owner of the vehicle nearby after allegedly being forced from the vehicle by an unknown assailant and “physically thrown into Lake Keowee.”

A joint investigation between Oconee and Pickens County has determined that an unknown male wearing an orange colored mask allegedly abducted the 66-year-old woman from her home as she was attempting to enter her vehicle.

“The unknown male forced the victim to drive him to various locations near the lake and at approximately 11 a.m. he made her stop the vehicle near the bridge on Hwy 183 and exit the vehicle,” said Hashe. “The suspect forced the victim to go with him down through a wooded area to the water’s edge where she was pushed into the lake.”

A security officer from the Oconee Nuclear Station later saw the woman in the water near the facility’s property and was able to provide her with assistance, officials stated.

Hashe said the victim did not sustain any serious injuries.

Reports describe the suspect as being approximately 6’ tall with a medium build, deep voice and last seen wearing a blue sweat shirt and black pants.

His race is unknown at this time.

Days later, the suspect has not been identified or located. Additionally, investigating officers have yet to determine a motive.

“Detectives from the Sheriff’s Office are following the standard protocols that are taken with all investigations to include the canvasing of area businesses and residents for potential witnesses and/or video from surveillance security systems,” said Hashe. ” … the circumstances surrounding how and why he would have selected the victim in this case are just a few of the many questions that detectives are attempting to answer.”

There have been no additional reports of any sightings or suspicious activity that can be connected to the incident on Sunday thus far, officials said.

Anyone that may have any information regarding this incident is asked to call the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office at (864) 898-5500 or Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIMESC.

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By Kasie Strickland

kstrickland@championcarolinas.com

Reach Kasie Strickland at 864-855-0355.