High-profile attorney hired to help seek justice in Berkeley Co. murder investigation

Published: Jan. 10, 2020 at 7:41 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - A high-profile, wrongful death attorney has been enlisted to help the family of Kadie Major seek justice for her death and the deaths of her daughter and unborn son.

Major died on Jan. 17, 2008 when she was hit by a train in Moncks Corner. Major, 26, was pregnant at the time, and her 10-month-old daughter, River Lynn, was found drowned in a creek near the train tracks.

Major’s mother has confirmed John Q. Kelly, whose clients include the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Natalee Holloway, is now helping push the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office for answers.

Originally, investigators believed Kadie murdered River and then took her own life. But following the national attention the case garnered from an episode on CBS’s “48 Hours,” the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office opened up a task force to look further into the investigation.

In March 2019, Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said investigators had ruled out the suicide angle.

Then in May 2019, investigators said Major’s husband, Aaron, was the only suspect in the case.

However, Hall said a meeting this week with Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis and Coroner George Oliver left her disappointed with the progress of the investigation.

Hall said Lewis and Oliver have refused to change the Kadie’s cause of death, despite those earlier reports that suicide was no longer being considered by detectives.

“I know my daughter did not commit suicide, and they all agreed in the meeting we had yesterday in the sheriff’s office, as far as the officials that were there, that they all believe Aaron Major murdered his family,” Hall said. “But to have enough information to prove that right now, because of the botched investigation originally in 2008, that’s why they aren’t going to change the ruling. They are copping out though. They could change this ruling.”

Hall believes changing Kadie’s cause of death could help move the investigation forward despite her concerns that detectives derailed the investigation from the very beginning.

“I do feel like they kept the suicide ruling to hinder us because it will hinder us," Hall said. “I don’t believe Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office can be expected to investigate themselves, and there were so many wrongs done in this case by Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office at the time in 2008, that this should not still be in their hands.”

She sent those concerns to Gov. Henry McMaster’s office, and received a response from McMaster’s chief legal counsel on Dec. 6. The letter stated the governor had referred Hall’s allegations about potential obstruction of justice to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for further evaluation.

“On behalf of Governor McMaster, please accept our heartfelt condolences on the tragic and untimely passing of your daughter and granddaughter,” the letter stated. “We hope that the Governor’s specific attention to your concerns, along with his immediate referral of the matter to SLED, will provide a measure of solace and further assistance that these allegations will be thoroughly investigated by state and local law enforcement authorities.”

Chief Deputy Jeremey Baker could only confirm that Thursday’s meeting with Hall and the sheriff and coroner was a “case update with the family.” He added that Sheriff Lewis was not available for an interview Friday because of a medical procedure.

Oliver also confirmed he met with Hall to update her on the status of the case, but refused to go into further detail about what was discussed.

SLED officials say they are only assisting Berkeley County with the death investigation. They do not have an investigation into the sheriff’s office in relation to the case.

Meanwhile, Kelly says he is in the Lowcountry to get all the facts and circumstances surrouding Kadie and River’s deaths and advising Vicky as to what options she may have.

SLED is assisting Berkeley County in the death investigation. SLED does not have an investigation into the Sheriff’s Office in relations to this case.

Hall said she’s excited to have Kelly’s help, and she has not yet made a decision on filing civil action against anyone involved.

“I’m very hopeful still. We’ve been preparing for a few months knowing things were just being dragged out too long,” Hall said. “I feel like there really isn’t compassion. I’m standing here, and I could easily throw the towel in, but I see Kadie and I see River and I see Aadon [Major’s unborn child] and I see the rest of my family. This is not right, and if this were their family, this ruling would not be standing as a suicide.”

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