Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says the woman who was found dead outside a home in Northeast Columbia had been dead for several days before she was placed in the front yard.
Watts has identified the woman as 26-year-old Almanita L. Smith and says she died from an "act of homicidal violence."
Marcus Bailey, 27, has been charged with Smith's death. Deputies say Bailey was at the home at the time Smith was found, and he was taken from the scene after having an apparent panic attack when law enforcement informed him of her death.
Bailey was questioned at the hospital and eventually taken to Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center and charged.
Investigators say Bailey was Smith's boyfriend.
"He's lying, " said Captain Chris Cowan of the Richland County Sheriff's Department.
In fact they were at Smith's home the day before Smith's body was found.
"Our deputies were there actually looking for her," said Cowan. "We got a call from the family members saying you need to go check on her because we haven't heard from her."
They found Bailey at Smith's house.
"We know that he claimed that he saw her the day before leaving the house and that she was fine. We know that was a complete lie," said Cowan.
They're now relying on evidence collected from inside Smith's home to finish the puzzle.
"We believe there's a timeline that we have to put into place after everything that happened," said Cowan.
Investigators won't say where they believe Smith's murder occurred. Right now investigators believe Marcus bailey acted alone. They call Smith's death a tragic example of domestic violence.
According to Deputy Curtis Wilson, the woman's body was found around 6:50 a.m. in the 600 block of Heron Glen Road, which is in the Lake Shore subdivision near Farrow Road.
A neighbor, who didn't want to be identified, told WIS she found the woman.
"When I was walking up on the body I noticed the person was deceased so I immediately called 911," she said.
The neighbor said it had been a while since she had seen Smith.
"I waved to her, maybe a week ago," she said. "I think I saw her, because I was passing."
A 911 dispatcher asked the caller if she could administer CPR. But she let the dispatcher know she thought it was past that point.
"I could tell she looks like she's been deceased for quite some time," the woman said. "Not from like last night to this morning in my opinion."
Investigators questioned neighbors, who also have questions how this could happen to someone whom they say was military and all around nice woman.
"She carried herself and acted very mature and responsible and a very good neighbor," said neighbor Altroy Bodrick.
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