Charleston man to be charged with murder in wife's 2012 disappearance

An updated 2018 mugshot of Robert McCaffrey provided by the Dare County detention center.
An updated 2018 mugshot of Robert McCaffrey provided by the Dare County detention center.
Gayle McCaffrey was reported missing on March 18, 2012. (Source: Charleston Co. Sheriff's Office)
Gayle McCaffrey was reported missing on March 18, 2012. (Source: Charleston Co. Sheriff's Office)

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County deputies say they plan to charge a man arrested in North Carolina Tuesday with murder in the 2012 disappearance of his wife.

Bob McCaffrey was arrested shortly after 7 a.m. Tuesday in Dare County, North Carolina, on a fugitive warrant in connection to the missing person case of Marjorie "Gayle" McCaffrey, according to Charleston County Sheriff's Capt. Roger Antonio.

McCaffrey was being held at the Dare County Detention Center pending extradition to South Carolina where deputies say they will file a murder charge against him.

Authorities have not yet released details about what led them to decide on a murder charge.

But deputies have scheduled a news conference at 1 p.m. on Wednesday to discuss the case.

Husband said wife disappeared after argument 

Deputies responded to the McCaffrey home on March 18, 2012, after Bob McCaffrey reported his wife missing.

McCaffrey told investigators that on the evening of March 17, 2012, he and his wife went out to eat but got into an argument after they returned home. He then left the home to go for a walk, he said. At 7:45 p.m., he said he returned from his walk and saw his wife on the bed, but said she ignored him.

At 10 p.m., he said he left their West Ashley home and headed to their second home in Easley.

Authorities said law enforcement issued a speeding ticket for Robert McCaffrey at 2:15 a.m. on March 18 in Traveler's Rest. He told investigators he returned to his West Ashley home at 6:30 a.m. and his wife was nowhere to be found.

Gayle McCaffrey, who was 36 at the time of her disappearance, left behind her wedding ring, car keys and checkbook on the counter, her husband said. McCaffrey also told investigators that his wife had left a typed letter which he gave to deputies.

On May 2, 2012, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said at a news conference McCaffrey's disappearance would thereafter be investigated as a homicide case. Cannon said McCaffrey had not accessed her bank account since the day she had last been seen, but said the typed note she allegedly left behind did not appear to be genuine.

"The contents of [that note] and what we're learning about both Bob McCaffrey and Gayle McCaffrey lead us to believe that the information in that note is bogus," Cannon said.

Cannon said Robert McCaffrey went to Greenville County to meet with a female love interest, but that meeting didn't "work out."

"We know there had been an argument, he left the home and drove to Greenville County, the northern part, to meet a female," Cannon said. "I don't think what he hoped to accomplish with her occurred in terms of a relationship and the kind of conversation he wanted to have with her. I don't think the feelings that he had for her were returned by her."

Cannon told reporters at that news conference the love interest was cooperating with authorities, while Robert McCaffrey was not. He also said all the evidence at that point was circumstantial, saying he would arrest Robert McCaffrey if he had "probable cause."

"I think there is a tremendous amount of information and evidence pointing to him," Cannon said. "But at this point, it's circumstantial."

Multiple searches from West Ashley to Newberry County between March 2012 and June 2014 turned up no evidence or new clues in the case.

During the course of the investigation, detectives became suspicious of the circumstances surrounding her disappearance, Antonio said.

Numerous searches were completed over time, some of which included help from local, state and federal law enforcement officers as we well as family, friends and co-workers of Gayle McCaffrey, Antonio said.

Deputies arrested Bob McCaffrey for obstruction of justice on June 21, 2014, based on inconsistencies in a statement he provided to detectives during the investigation, Antonio said.

McCaffrey to return to Charleston to face charge

Charleston County deputies were present at the time of McCaffrey's arrest in North Carolina, Antonio said.

It is not yet clear when they will bring him back to Charleston County.

A request for comment from McCaffrey's attorney has not been returned.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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