“Pickens County Explorer Post 138 Adds Photos”

'Private 1st Class. Jesse Diaz. United States Army. 11 C'
'Sergeant. Dallas Alexander. United States Marine Corps. 5811 MP.'
'Officer. Brandon Brewer. Clemson Univeristy Police Department.'
'Private 1st Class. Forrest Wagler. United States Army. 11 B'

This album is dedicated to all those who have completed the exploring program with Post 138 and have entered into Public Service.

If you are now in public service and have either aged out of Post 138 or were in Post 138 at the time you began your service, please send us a picture of yourself as an explorer (if applicable) and in your current profession. Please also include Agency, Rank, Etc.

“Death Investigation Turned Over To State Authorities”

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Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Turns Investigation of Death at local Youth Camp over to State Authorities 

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has completed the initial inquiry and investigation into the circumstances surrounding the tragic accident which claimed the life of 16 year old Olivia Grimes on Monday, July 13, 2015.

As previously released following the incident, Miss Grimes, a resident from Florida, was a participant involved in an outdoor event called the “Freebird” while attending a weeklong excursion at Carolina Point – Young Life Camp located at 4000 Glady Fork Rd in Brevard, North Carolina.

The remote area located on Sassafras Mountain is divided by the North and South Carolina state line with portions of the approximate 350 acre facility falling on both sides of the state boundary.

The investigation by the Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that no signs of foul play or criminal intent played a role in the death of Miss Grimes.  Witness interviews and the examination of all evidence collected at the scene and the autopsy have confirmed the following facts:

  • No indications of a mechanical or structural failure of the swing, equipment or safety gear have been detected
  • The victim’s harness was not attached to the apparatus when the swing was retracted from the passenger loading platform upon deployment of the swing
  • No evidence or information has been discovered that would indicate that the victim contributed to her own death

On Wednesday, July 15, 2015, three representatives from the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation accompanied members from the Sheriff’s Office investigative team to the accident site for evaluation.

Late Thursday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Office was officially informed that the incident fell under South Carolina state jurisdiction after a review of state statutes and their application to the existing rides and courses to include the pendulum swing at the camp.

The Sheriff’s Office, having now completed the initial criminal inquiry into the victim’s death, has turned all information over to state authorities as the investigation will proceed under their jurisdiction.

Any evidence collected by the Sheriff’s Office will be retained and secured for the state pending the outcome of their investigation.

Further inquiries should be directed to the South Carolina Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation in Columbia, SC.



“Update On Homicide Investigation”

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Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Turns Homicide Investigation over to Solicitor for Review 

Over the past fourteen hours, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has continued to investigate the circumstances of the deadly shooting which occurred at #237 Watts Rd. in Liberty.

As previously released earlier this morning, the Sheriff’s Office has now verified that three adult men in addition to the deceased were present at the scene when the shooting occurred.  Three of the men lived at the residence and the fourth man was an invited guest.

The Sheriff’s Office responded to the location approximately forty-five minutes prior to the shooting to investigate a report of a disturbance.  Deputies made contact with three of the four men and left the scene after determining that no crime had occurred.

A second verbal dispute erupted after the Deputies left and a physical confrontation between one of the residents and the deceased (guest) broke out on the back porch of the home.

Multiple shots were fired from a handgun by one of the remaining residents from inside the home in the direction of the two fighting men.  One of the men was struck with at least one round and died at the scene.

A 9mm handgun was later recovered from the residence by Forensics personnel.


No charges have been filed at this stage of the investigation; however, Sheriff’s Detectives met with representatives from the 13th Circuit Solicitor’s Office this morning.

The investigation is still on-going pending the conclusion of a full legal review by the Solicitor’s Office.

This case is still an active homicide investigation and any additional information will only be disseminated in a simultaneous manner to all media outlets as the investigation progresses or final determination is made concerning prosecution.

Inquiries concerning the identity of the victim should be directed to the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.


“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Investigates Homicide”

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Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Investigates Homicide Stemming from a Shooting in the Liberty Community 

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office received reports through the 911 Center of a shooting that had just occurred at a residence located at #237 Watts Rd in Liberty.

Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to the residence at approximately 11:45pm on Wednesday, July 15th and arrived on the scene within three minutes.  An adult male was found deceased on the back porch with visible injuries consistent of at least one gunshot.

The investigation is still in the preliminary stages but initial information has confirmed that there were three other adult males at the home in addition to the deceased when the incident occurred.

An argument between the four men escalated to a physical confrontation when at least one shot was discharged in the direction of the deceased.

One of the three surviving men was transported to the hospital for non-life threatening injuries believed to have been sustained during a physical confrontation with one of the individuals.

The Sheriff’s Office has identified and located all parties involved and does not have any reason to believe that there is any additional threat to the community.

The Sheriff’s Office has not taken anyone into custody during the early stages of the investigation as Sheriff’s Detectives continue to conduct interviews and process the scene for evidence.

Inquiries concerning the identity of the deceased should be directed to the Pickens County Coroner’s Office later today.  An autopsy of the deceased will be conducted to determine the cause and manner of death.

No additional information is available for release until further investigation can be completed.




“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Request Outside Investigation”

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Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Requests outside Investigation following Reports of Detention Officer Selling Contraband to Inmates 

During the month of June, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office received information that a Pickens County Detention Officer was smuggling various types of illegal contraband into the Detention Facility and selling the items for personal gain.

The information forwarded to the Sheriff’s Office contained activity that was potentially criminal in nature and if through an investigation was found to be substantiated, would meet “Official Misconduct” criteria and trigger the mandated state requirements governing all law enforcement agencies in South Carolina to report the conduct to the state.

Justin Lee Kelley (22yoa) was hired on December 7, 2014, and was assigned to the Detention Center where he served as a Detention Officer.  Mr. Kelley was terminated from the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office on June 19, 2015, for violation of Sheriff’s Office policies.

On June 19, 2015, agents from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division initiated an investigation at the request of Sheriff Rick Clark.

On Tuesday, July 14, 2015, the Pickens County Sheriff’s Office was notified by SLED authorities that Kelley would be charged with two criminal offenses pursuant to their investigation.

Any inquiry about the criminal investigation should be directed to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division.



“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Assists with Investigation of Deceased Hiker”

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The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office responded to Twin Falls located on Water Falls Rd at approximately 11:35am after receiving reports of a fallen hiker.

Rescue personnel from several response entities were dispatched to the scene and located an adult male in the water at the base of the falls.

The victim was moved from the water and pronounced deceased at the scene by the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.

The victim was hiking with a group of other adults when it is believed that he lost his footing and fell to his death.

The investigation is still preliminary in nature and the identity of the victim has not yet been released by the Coroner’s Office.  An autopsy is scheduled for tomorrow to confirm the manner and cause of death.

Please direct inquiries concerning the identity of the victim to the Pickens County Coroner’s Office later on today.


“Investigation Into Deceased Hiker Finds No Evidence Of Foul Play”

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Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Investigation into Deceased Hiker Finds No Evidence of Foul Play


The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has found no evidence or any other indication that Jonathan Michael McKenzie’s death was anything other than a tragic accident.

Interviews with the witness and preliminary results from the autopsy are all consistent with the original reported findings that the teenage hiker merely slipped on wet rocks and fell to his death.

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office is in the final stages of wrapping up the investigation which absent any further information will be classified as an accidental death.

Sheriff Rick Clark stated…

“Our hearts and prayers continue to be with Jonathan’s family and friends especially with the young lady who witnessed Jonathan’s fall on Sunday.  

 We encourage all hikers to stay on the designated trails and to always venture out with a partner in the event that you may need some assistance.  Registering with the park officials before you leave on your journey is critical for your safety and security.   

Jonathan attempted to follow most of the rules but many dangers exist in the wilderness and unfortunately we lost him at such an early age.”


“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Charges Son In Attempted Murder Of His Mother”

The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office was notified at 8:30pm last night of an incident where a Pickens man attempted to shoot his mother as she drove down the driveway of their residence.

The Sheriff’s Office interviewed the victim who was able to drive away from her son following the shooting and notify the Sheriff’s Office after she drove to a safe haven to call authorities.

The investigation revealed that the victim’s son had earlier left walking down the driveway of the residence located at #909 Sliding Rock Rd in Pickens after arming himself with a sawed off shotgun.

The man’s mother became concerned that the son might harm himself so she proceeded to look for him and eventually located him a short distance from the residence on foot.

As the mother attempted to calm her son down, he threatened her and as she drove off the son fired a single shotgun blast into the rear windshield of the vehicle.

The victim was not struck by the pellets which lodged in the back of the driver’s side seat and headrest; however, she did receive injuries from the shattered glass.

This morning at approximately 10:30am, members from the Pickens County Special Weapons and Tactics Team located David James Dodds (34yoa) inside the residence on Sliding Rock Rd.

After numerous unsuccessful attempts to persuade Dodds to surrender, forced entry to the home was made and Mr. Dodds was taken into custody without any further incident.  No other occupants were inside the residence at the time of the arrest.

A sawed off shotgun believed to be used in the shooting was recovered from the home.

David J. Dodds is currently being detained within the Pickens County Detention Facility where he has yet to be arraigned on the following charges:


Charge:                                             Warrant:                  Bond:             Arrest Date:

Attempted Murder                  2015A3910500286       Pending       06-29-15

Possession of a Weapon        2015A3910500287        Pending       06-29-15

during a Violent Crime

Discharging a Firearm into   2015A3910500289        Pending       06-29-15

a Vehicle

Unlawful Possession of a       2015A3910500290        Pending       06-29-15

Sawed-Off Shotgun




“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Assist With Investigation Of Deceased Hiker”


The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office responded to Table Rock State Park on Sunday, June 28, 2015, to assist other emergency response agencies following the report of a fallen hiker at approximately 3:45pm.

The male hiker (16yoa) was accompanied by a female (16yoa) as they proceeded up the mountain on one of the trails leading to Mill Creek Falls.

The witness stated that the victim was attempting to refill water bottles when he lost his footing and fell off of a waterfall located almost three miles from the trailhead in the park.  The victim is believed to have fallen in excess of fifty feet.

Emergency crews located the victim and transported him back down the mountain by foot where he was pronounced deceased.

The Sheriff’s Office has interviewed the witness and the investigation is still ongoing pending the final results of the autopsy.  Preliminary investigation has not produced any signs of foul play and the incident appears to be an accident absent the discovery of any new information.

Please direct inquiries concerning the identity of the victim to the Pickens County Coroner’s Office.

“Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Makes Arrest In Crime Spree”


Pickens County Sheriff’s Office Cracks Investigation into Crime Spree Involving Two Pickens Men and a Female Accomplice


The Pickens County Sheriff’s Office has arrested three individuals responsible for a short crime spree occurring from June 7th to June 12, 2015.  Numerous charges have been filed stemming from these thefts.

Several cases involving burglaries, stolen vehicles and incidents of malicious damage were reported to the Sheriff’s Office and the investigation into those incidents has resulted in the identification of three individuals with varying degrees of involvement.

Summary of Incidents:

  • Masters Grocery located at 3949 Moorefield Memorial Hwy

(Busted out glass door on 06-07-15)

  • Residence located at 169 Skyland Dr.

(Burglarized and stole property on 06-07-15)

  • Hagood Mill located at 138 Hagood Mill Rd.

(Van stolen on 06-07-15)

  • Midway Church located at 1200 Midway Rd.

(Van stolen on 06-08-15)

  • Golden Creek Baptist Church located at 477 Golden Creek Rd.

(Broke into church van and destroyed steering column in attempt to steal on 06-08-15 )

  • New Hope Church located at 108 New Hope Rd.

(Vehicle stolen from parking lot on 06-11-15)

  • Residence located at 408 Winmont Rd.

(Broke into outbuilding and stole property on 06-12-15)


Michael David Hardison (25yoa) was arrested on June 16, 2015, at a residence in Liberty without any confrontation and charged with the following offenses:

Charge:                                             Warrant:                  Bond:             Arrest Date:

Malicious Damage                    2015A3910300225      $1000.00          06-16-15

Burglary 2nd Degree                  2015A3910300236      $7000.00          06-16-15

Simple Larceny                          2015A3910300237      $1000.00          06-16-15

Grand Larceny                           2015A3910300238      $3,000.00         06-16-15

Grand Larceny                           2015A3910300239      $5000.00          06-16-15

Burglary 3rd Degree                   2015A3910300240      $5000.00         06-16-15

Simple Larceny                           2015A3910300241      $1000.00         06-16-15

Breaking into Motor Vehicle    2015A3910300242      $2000.00         06-16-15

Family Court Bench Warrant   Order from FC            $5283.97        06-16-15

Probation Violation                   Prob & Parole               $5000.00        06-16-15


Hardison is currently being detained within the Pickens County Detention Facility with a total bond in excess of $35,000.00.


Matthew Joseph Kelley (27yoa) turned himself in to the Sheriff’s Office today and has been charged with the following for his involvement during some of the incidents:


Charge:                                             Warrant:                  Bond:             Arrest Date:

Grand Larceny                           2015A3910300228      Pending          06-25-15

Burglary 2nd Degree                  2015A3910300230      Pending          06-25-15

Simple Larceny                          2015A3910300231      Pending          06-25-15

Grand Larceny                           2015A3910300232      Pending          06-25-15

Grand Larceny                          2015A3910300233       Pending          06-25-15


Kelley is currently detained within the Pickens County Detention Facility awaiting to be arraigned on charges. 


Jessica Ann Gillenwater (28yoa) also turned herself in to the Sheriff’s Office on today’s date where she is being detained pending arraignment on three charges listed below.


Charge:                                             Warrant:                  Bond:             Arrest Date:

Grand Larceny                        2015A3910300229      Pending           06-25-15

Burglary 2nd Degree               2015A3910300234      Pending           06-25-15

Simple Larceny                       2015A3910300235      Pending           06-25-15