Burned body found off SC road identified

Burned body found off SC road identified
An investigation is underway after a burned body was found on the side of the road in the Richburg area of Chester County on Friday, Sept. 20, 2019. (Source: Miller, Jennifer)

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (WBTV) - Officials have identified the burned body of a woman found on the side of the road in the Richburg area of Chester County last month as 31-year-old Melissa Whitis. Deputies are now investigating the case as a homicide and looking for the person responsible in the woman’s killing.

Someone spotted the woman’s body in a ditch on the side of Lizzie Melton Road around 11:30 a.m. on September 30. The area is near Old Richburg Road and I-77. Deputies quickly responded to the scene and confirmed it was a burned human body.

Whitis’ last known address was in Frankfort, Kentucky. Deputies believe Whitis may have been last seen in the Winston-Salem area.

A body found burned on the side of a SC road in September has been identified by officials as 31-year-old Melissa Whitis.
A body found burned on the side of a SC road in September has been identified by officials as 31-year-old Melissa Whitis. (Source: Chester County Sheriff's Office)

“It is believed that Whitis was in the vicinity of I-40 in Davie County, North Carolina on September 17, 2019,” deputies say. She may have been wearing yellow pants, a gray overcoat, a knee brace and a knit cap.

Chester County Sheriff Max Dorsey said the area around the body was also burned. He said seeing the body was a “terrible” sight.

Dorsey said the investigation is going to pull on all available resources to make sure there is justice found for the person who was found burned.

Before positively identifying the woman as Whitis, deputies asked for help identifying her through her tattoos.

Whitis had the word “Loyal” over her right eye and five stars in a crescent shape under her right eye. She also had a heart under her left eye and a five-pointed star on the right side of her neck. The word, “Blessing” was tattooed on her stomach, deputies say and the word “SEXY” was tattooed on her right thigh.

She had the names “Ethan” and “Emily” tattooed on her right foot.

Deputies asking for help identifying woman found dead on road in Chester County
Deputies asking for help identifying woman found dead on road in Chester County (Source: Chester County Sheriff's Office)

Whitis also had a specific medical condition in which a medical device had been placed her cranium.

An autopsy has been scheduled.

This remains an active investigation by the Chester County Sheriff’s Office, the Chester County Coroner’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED).

Anyone with any information about the case is asked to call the Chester County Sheriff’s Office at 803-581-5131.

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