Deputies said they believe a missing Spartanburg mom may be the victim of foul play elsewhere in the state, and they are looking for a person of interest in connection with her disappearance.
Spartanburg County deputies said they have been working with Berkeley County investigators looking into the disappearance of Nicole Goodlett, 28. Goodlett is the mother of 9-month-old twins and a 5-year-old son who has not been seen or heard from in several months.
Goodlett was reported missing by her family from her Spartanburg home on March 12. Deputies said she was last seen on Feb. 20 at the Loblolly Drive residence, and when her parents had not heard from her, they flew to the Upstate from Texas and reported her missing.
Lt. Tony Ivey with the Spartanburg County Sheriff's Office said they believe Goodlett may be the victim of foul play in or around the area of Berkeley County, but they cannot release any other information about the case without hurting their investigation.
A press conference was held Monday in Berkeley County where Goodlett's parents spoke.
"We are heartbroken and greatly saddened by her disappearance, and we strongly believe that she was taken by force or may have been held against her will or worse," James Goodlett said.
Spartanburg County Sheriff Chuck Wright echoed those concerns on Monday as well.
"We feel like there's been some wrongdoing in their case; we don't think she's just missing," Wright said.
Since March, deputies said they have not received any tips about Goodlett's disappearance. Wright said they are asking the public to not assume anything and to call with any tip they may have.
Goodlett's family announced a reward of $2,000 for any and all information that may provide any leads in this case.
Goodlett, who is known by friends as Alazay or Zay, is described as 5'10" tall, weighs 130 pounds and styles her hair both curly and straight. She has a rose bush tattoo on the outside of her lower right leg with the names James, Bozena, Daniel, Nicole and Jessica. She also has the word Capricorn tattooed on her right wrist, three Chinese symbols tattooed below her navel and a digital QR code tattooed on her left ankle.
Deputies said because she did not have her car, they do not know what type, if any, car she could be in. They also said they do not know what she was wearing when she disappeared.
Deputies said Crime Stoppers is willing to add to the reward amount, and tipsters can remain anonymous by calling 1-888-CRIME-SC or text TIPSC plus their message to CRIMES (274637).
Deputies want to talk to 'person of interest' in case
Ivey said deputies have identified Jerald Howard, 32, as a person of interest in the case, and investigators want to talk to him.
Deputies said Howard, Goodlett's boyfriend, dropped off their twin girls at his parents' home in Berkeley County after she went missing and has been back and forth since then. The twins are now in the Department of Social Services custody while her 5-year-old son is with Goodlett's parents, according to deputies.
Ivey said no charges have been filed against Howard, but they are also asking anyone with information on his whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers so then can speak to him further.
Deputies: Person of interest was "extremely nervous" and "agitated"
Howard was arrested in late March by deputies. According to an incident report dated March 26, the sheriff's office executed a search warrant at a home on Graymouth Drive in Spartanburg where deputies said Howard was acting "extremely nervous" and "agitated."
When deputies arrived at the home, a man later identified as Howard was approached by officer serving the warrant and asked to stop, but he went under a partially opened garage door, according to the incident report.
Deputies said no more than 15 seconds passed before Howard came to the front door and was in a hurry to leave the house.
According to the incident report, he was patted down and taken into custody for "interfering with a service process."
Deputies said they later found a phone similar to the one they were searching for hidden in his crotch area. Following his arrest, Howard was released on bond.
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