Deputies: Bulletproof vest charity CEO charged with rape
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Authorities say the founder of a charity that provides bulletproof vests for police departments who can't afford them was arrested and charged with incest and rape. Richland County deputies said 56-year-old Michael Allan Letts sexually abused a relative from the time she was 10 until she turned 17. Deputies say Letts was arrested Wednesday at the completion of the investigation which began when the victim came to authorities in January. Letts is founder and CEO of In-Vest USA, which raises money for bulletproof vests for police forces that can't afford them. He also filed to run for the state Senate as a Republican this year against Democratic Sen. Mia McLeod of Columbia.
MISSING MAN-BODY FOUND
Coroner: body of missing SC man found with bullet wounds
AIKEN, S.C. (AP) — The body of a 20-year-old man reported missing in February has been found in woods in South Carolina. Aiken County Coroner Darryl Ables, in a news release, says Trenton Nichols of North Augusta, South Carolina, was shot to death. Nichols' body was found Monday. Ables' office said his death has been ruled a homicide. The death remains under investigation.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-SOUTH CAROLINA
SC health officials defend limited COVID-19 data release
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Health officials in South Carolina are coming under increased scrutiny over information it isn't gathering or releasing about the spread of the coronavirus. For a brief time last week, health officials released the number of COVID-19 cases in each ZIP code. But less than a day later, officials replaced it with a list of only those ZIP codes that had at least one case. Officials say a shortage of tests means there are a lot of people with the virus undiagnosed and so people need to act like anyone they encounter is infected and protect themselves. South Carolina reported nearly 1,300 COVID-19 cases and 26 deaths as of Wednesday.
2 South Carolina sheriffs seek reelection amid troubles
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Two South Carolina sheriffs who faced recent troubles have filed for reelection in their respective counties. Suspended Chester County Sheriff Alex Underwood filed for a third term on Monday. He faces both state and federal charges, including civil rights violations. A South Carolina Election Commission spokesman says Underwood was allowed to file because only candidates convicted of a felony cannot run for office. Union County Sheriff David Taylor is also seeking reelection, according to a letter obtained by news outlets. An investigation found flaws in how he managed the sheriffs office, but criminal charges were not recommended. He was accused of making sexually inappropriate comments and requesting that employees buy him alcohol while on duty.
Teen drowns while swimming with friends in SC
RIDGEWAY, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina high school student has died after a swimming trip. The Kershaw County Coroner's Office says 18-year-old Armando Cervantes Estrada died Tuesday at Prisma Health Richland. WIS-TV reports Estrada was with a few other teens swimming out from Buck Hill Landing at Lake Wateree on Monday when he went under the water. The coroner's office says an autopsy was scheduled Wednesday for Estrada, a student at Lugoff-Elgin High School.
Police: Suspect rode bike to scene, shouted 'I killed him'