Brandy Duncan and Christopher Holford, a husband-and-wife pair of newlyweds from Lancaster, South Carolina, are accused in connection with the death of a dismembered teenager.
Human remains on the property were described as likely being those of Austin Tyler Steele, 18. Authorities found a grisly scene on the couple’s property: a “human torso absent limbs was found buried on the property. A human skull was found outside. Bones were found in a burn barrel. Bones were found in a box under the mobile home. A revolver was found in the main house. An axe, a broken sword, and knives were found in the mobile home,” a sheriff’s press release said.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. A Woman Told Police That a Homicide Had Occurred at the Residence
In a press release, the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office said authorities were led to Steele’s remains after a woman came forward. “At about 5:30…Thursday, March 1, 2018, a deputy of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to speak with a complainant. The complainant told deputies she was informed by another person that a homicide had occurred at a residence on High Point Circle in Lancaster on an unknown date several weeks ago,” the press release stated.
Another deputy arrived to assist, and “additional information was obtained indicating that the victim’s body was disposed of at the home on High Point Circle. Other deputies, investigators, and crime scene investigators responded and corroborated information that had been provided. A search warrant was obtained for the property,” authorities revealed.
2. Police Searched the Property & Found Human Remains
After receiving the tip, the press release says the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) “sent crime scene agents to assist, and a handler with a cadaver K-9 from Foothills Search and Rescue and a forensic anthropologist from the Richland County Coroner’s Office also responded.”
Investigators spent the entire day on the property, and, around the middle of the afternoon, they found human remains. “This is a homicide investigation and is in its early stages,” authorities reported.
“The information reported to us has been corroborated so far during our search of this property,” said Sheriff Barry Faile. “…We do not believe the public is in danger. I appreciate the hard work all personnel have done today and will continue to do into the evening. We will release more information as we can.”
Investigators searched the property and found the grisly scene.
3. Holford Is Accused of Shooting Steele in the Neck & Then Dismembering His Body
According to the press release, Christopher Allen Holford, age 30, with an address of 1838 High Point Circle, Lancaster, has been charged with the murder of Austin Tyler Steele, age 18.
“Although the remains discovered at the High Point Circle property searched yesterday have not been positively identified, through interviews investigators are satisfied that the remains are those of Mr. Steele,” authorities wrote, adding that Brandy Nicole Faye Duncan, age 19, also of High Point Circle, “has been charged as an accessory. Holford and Duncan were married last month.”
“Holford, Duncan, and Steele at one time all lived in a mobile home on the property behind the main house. Steele had not been seen by others who knew him for several weeks,” the sheriff’s press release said. “…investigators learned that Holford shot Steele in the neck on the property several weeks ago. Steele survived into that night but was deceased the next morning. Holford dismembered Steele’s body and concealed the body parts on the property. Duncan assisted Holford in concealing evidence of the crime.”
4. Holford Is a Registered Sex Offender
Holford was also arrested by the Lancaster Police Department for Domestic Violence Third Degree and was booked into the Lancaster County Detention Center right before authorities received the tip, the press release said.
“Investigators interviewed Holford, Duncan, and several other witnesses yesterday and last night. Warrants charging Holford with Murder and Possession of a Firearm During the Commission of a Violent Crime were served upon him last night. He was also charged with Domestic Violence of a High and Aggravated Nature for pointing a handgun at Duncan during an incident investigators learned of as they investigated Mr. Steele’s homicide.”
According to authorities, Holford is no stranger to legal trouble. “Holford is a registered sex offender, and a warrant charging him with Failure to Provide Internet Information in connection with the sex offender registry was served upon him, also,” authorities wrote. “Holford was denied bond on the Murder charge earlier this morning. Duncan was transported to the Lancaster County Detention Center last night, and a warrant charging her with Accessory After the Fact of Murder was served upon her this morning. She has not yet appeared before a magistrate judge for a bond hearing.”
According to authorities, “Anyone with information about this or any other case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office at 803-283-3388 or contact Midlands Crimestoppers in one of the following ways: dial 888-CRIME-SC (888-274-6372), log onto http://www.midlandscrimestoppers.com and click on the ‘Submit a Tip’ tab, or download the P3 Tips App for Apple or Android devices.”
5. Neighbors Wondered Where Steele Was
On Facebook, Steele wrote that he “studied at none,” went to AR Rucker Middle School, was single, and lived in Lancaster, South Carolina. He was from Heath Springs, South Carolina.
His last public post is a profile picture change for New Year’s 2018. Last fall, he posted about selling a motorcycle.
“We asked where Austin was for the last 5 or 6 weeks? What did [Holford] say? ‘I don’t know I think he went looking for his daddy.’ But everybody knows his daddy is dead,” said neighbor Geraldine Helms to WCNC-TV.
Brandy Duncan had a Facebook page. The top post reads, “Some people hide there pain WIth a smile but thay are hurtin I thank this person is really a blessing to me thank you.”