Woman found in Laurens Co. woods, shot in back of head; vehicle found in Cherokee Co.

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LAURENS COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The Laurens County Coroner’s Office said the autopsy of a woman, whose body was found in a wooded area near Ekom Beach Road on Saturday, revealed that she died after being shot in the back of the head.

We reported earlier that the body of Michelle Marie Dodge, 27, of York, S.C., was found dead in a wooded area in the 900 block of McDaniel Road in Laurens.

Deputy Coroner Vickie Cheek said in a news release Tuesday that Dodge died from a gunshot wound to the back of the head.

Cheek said Dodge died around 12 p.m. Saturday.

Dodge’s aunt, Beth McSparin, issued the following statement in regards to her niece’s death:

“Michelle was a happy, compassionate, loving person. She was devoted to her family and a loyal friend. She was always willing to help someone in need. She was loved greatly. Her loss is a tragedy and she will be greatly missed by her family.

As for the events surrounding her death, we would prefer not to speak on the matter at this time.”

Laurens County Sheriff’s Office deputies said that her 2006 Dodge Charger was missing.

The missing vehicle was found around 7:20 p.m. Tuesday in a wooded area off Wolf Den Lane in Cherokee County, according to Sheriff Steve Mueller.

Cherokee County K-9s are being used to check for anybody at the scene because investigators believe the person left on foot.

Sheriff Mueller said they believe the person was trying to get the car into the Broad River or set it on fire.

The car will be taken back to Laurens County as part of the investigation.

On Wednesday morning, Laurens County Sheriff Don Reynolds said in a news release that his office cannot release much information at this time, due to not wanting to “jeopardize the integrity of the investigation. We can confirm the victim’s car was found last night and is being held for processing. Our investigators are working around the clock alongside Investigators with the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, York County Sheriff’s Office, and the York Police Department to follow up on leads.”

Anyone with information regarding Dodge’s death should contact the sheriff’s office at (864) 984-4967. Tips can also be reported anonymously by calling 864-68-CRIME.

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