WALTERBORO, SC (WCSC) - Officials with the Walterboro Police Department say an arrest has been made in a case that has been cold for 37 years.
According to a news release, James Willie Butterfield has been charged with murder, first degree criminal sexual conduct and first degree burglary.
On May 28, 1978, officers with the Walterboro Police Department were approached by two individuals who said they went home to find their roommate lying on the floor, covered in blood. Officers responded to the scene on South Lemacks Street to find the body of Gwendolyn Elain Fogle.
"During the initial investigation, evidence was collected, processed, and preserved," the release states. "Officers interviewed numerous persons of interest, including family and acquaintances of the victim. Although numerous leads were followed and countless hours were spent working on the homicide, investigators were unable to positively identify a suspect."
Officers with the Walterboro Police Department and agents with the State Law Enforcement Division followed leads and reviewed evidence for 37 years with no success -- until just recently.
Investigator Gean Johnson was assigned to the case in May of 2015, almost 37 years to the date of the incident. After seven months of investigation, James Willie Butterfield, an original person of interest, became a primary suspect.
The release says interviews were conducted with other persons of interest, but evidence collected from the original crime scene helped Investigator Johnson conclude Butterfield was the suspect.
According to the release, Butterfield is in custody awaiting a bond hearing.
Walterboro Police Chief Wade Marvin said overwhelming support from original case workers, family members, and outside agencies made the arrest possible, in addition to Investigator Johnson's work.
"The closure of this case would not be possible without the hard work and investigative skills of the original case officers and SLED agents who assisted in processing the scene and preserving evidence over time," said Wade.
Fogle would have been 64 on Dec. 15.