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Shooting death of convicted sex offender may create new leads in cold case

2-5-2015 South Carolina:

SUMTER COUNTY, SC — The shooting death of a convicted sex offender may drum up some new insight for investigators who are attempting to crack a cold case that has remained a mystery since 2012.

Officials with the Sumter Police Department believe that 65-year-old Johnny Singleton, who was found shot to death in his vehicle on Jan. 27, befriended 18-year-old Aaron Abraham whose decomposed body was found in August 2012 along a roadside near Wedgefield.

A South Carolina Law Enforcement Division background check revealed that Singleton is a registered sex offender with a variety of misconduct charges dating back to 1976 including lewd acts on a minor, contributing to the delinquency of a minor, criminal sexual conduct and disturbing schools among others.

Tonyia McGirt, a Sumter Police Department spokeswoman, said investigators believed Singleton had knowledge regarding the disappearance of Abraham after they discovered that the teen would go to Singleton’s home and do chores such as cutting Singleton’s grass.

Abraham was last seen leaving the Sumter County Library on July 19, 2012 and was reported missing by his mother on July 22. A month later, Abraham’s remains were discovered by a man collecting cans along S.C. 261 and Cane Savannah Road.

Braden Bunch of the Sumter County Sheriff’s Office said their investigation regarding Singleton’s death has him as a victim, but investigators from both agencies are working hand-in-hand to see if the cases could bring new evidence to light to Abraham’s disappearance and death.

Recently, Singleton was found dead following a single-vehicle crash on Jan. 27 along Highway 521 North.

Bunch said Matthew Cory Dwyer, 21, of Sumter, was taken into custody at his residence late Wednesday night and charged with murder as well as one count of possession of a weapon during a violent crime in connection with Singleton’s death.

Investigators believe that Dwyer intentionally shot Singleton while in Singleton's vehicle along the 8800 block of Highway 521 North. Bunch said, for now, the primary motive for the shooting was a robbery attempt, although there may be ancillary reasons for the shooting.

Initial reports revealed that Singleton was involved in a single-vehicle crash and was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators immediately deemed Singleton's death suspicious after an autopsy revealed Singleton suffered from a gunshot wound that were obscured by injuries Singleton sustained from the crash.

Bunch said both Dwyer and Singleton had known each other for a while prior to the shooting.

Bunch said Dwyer was taken into custody without incident, and he has been transported to the Sumter-Lee Regional Detention Center.

Despite the arrest, the incident remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office with more arrests or charges coming. ..Source.. by HARRISON CAHILL

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