Group protests suicide ruling in Crystal Freeman case - FOX Carolina 21

Group protests suicide ruling in Crystal Freeman case

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Protestors hold up a sign along in Spartanburg County. (Dec. 2, 2012/FOX Carolina) Protestors hold up a sign along in Spartanburg County. (Dec. 2, 2012/FOX Carolina)
Crystal Freeman (Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office) Crystal Freeman (Spartanburg Co. Sheriff's Office)
SPARTANBURG, SC (FOX Carolina) -

There's outrage from some family and friends of a Spartanburg woman whose skeletal remains were found in September after the coroner recently ruled her death as suicide.

The Spartanburg County Coroner's Office ruled 20-year-old Crystal Freeman's death a suicide, but her family disagrees. Freeman was reported missing in May by her family, and they say this case is not closed because they don't believe it was a suicide.

Freeman's remains were found in a wooded area along Highway 11 in Fingerville in September. Hunters found her body at the base of a tree.

"I've cried endless tears, because it's not right what they're doing now to her," said family member Belinda Thompson, who said she knew the girl as she grew up and a suicide just doesn't make sense.

She and a group of protestors were out in Spartanburg with a message - Spartanburg County officials need to work this case harder.

"We had a lot of stuff that was presented as evidence that we presented to the sheriff that I think was disregarded and not paid attention, a lot of leads," said Barbara Yelvington. Yelvington said she didn't know Freeman while she was alive but has been drawn to her case while searching for her own missing friend from Asheville, Terry Lynn Pendergraft Tersak.

The group said the facts they've gotten from investigators don't add up.

"If it's suicide, someone needs to show me some facts for suicide because I don't see any 20-year-old female walking barefooted through six feet of brush with no pants," said Thompson. "But I'm going to take my cell phone in case someone calls me when I'm trying to commit suicide? There's no way."

Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger told FOX Carolina Sunday he does have those facts. Clevenger said he hasn't released details on how Freeman killed herself for the public to respect the family's privacy, but said, "The evidence is more than clear."

Still, protestors said there are too many unanswered questions and pieces of what they said is still a puzzle that needs to be put together and individuals investigated.

"Crystal's friends weren't the best of circles at times, and it was a lot of drug activity and those people probably from not the good circles are probably responsible for Crystal's disappearance and death," said protestor Jeanette Nichols. "But Crystal is not responsible for her death, I'll never accept that."

But Spartanburg Sheriff's Office spokesman Kevin Bobo told FOX Carolina her missing person report was more than 35 pages long.

"I can't think of a missing person case worked harder than Crystal's, worked hard by so many different people," said Bobo.  

Copyright 2012 FOX Carolina (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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