Upstate family speaks out after sheriff’s office says they solved a cold case from 2009

Family speaks after warrant issued in cold case
Published: Mar. 2, 2022 at 12:49 AM EST
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GREENVILLE, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - One day the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office announced they found the man they believe killed Allison Southerland-Craine almost 13 years ago, her family is speaking out.

“Allison was loved by so many people. She was loved by her daughters, her sister, me. Other family members, her Uncle Stevie and a lot of people that’s not here that’s passed on since this,” said Allison’s Mom Tammy Morrison.

That love has fueled the search for answers about who killed Allison.

“We always said from day one that we would never give up hope on finding who took my sister away and we never did,” explained Allison’s Sister Ashley Simmons.

Allison’s body was found under a bridge near Lakeside Road in southwest Greenville County in August of 2009.

The case went cold soon after until the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office says new evidence led detectives to Jeffery Phillips.

Phillips is currently in jail in Tennessee awaiting trial for an unconnected murder charge from 2017.

Morrison recalls getting the phone call that the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office got a murder warrant for Phillips.

“He told me everything and I about fell out really, but I was excited but I was hurt too,” she said.

That hurts comes from the reality once again sinking in.

“It really happened. You can’t live life thinking that you’re just living in a dream anymore,” said Simmons.

FOX Carolina spoke with Allison’s Mom and Sister half a mile down the road from where her body was found.

The first day in twelve and a half years they were able to wake up without wondering who killed their loved one.

“It felt good. You don’t have to go in stores and wonder if you’re standing by somebody that done this,” explained Morrison.

Allison’s case was the fifth the newly formed Greenville County Sheriff’s Office Cold Case Unit has solved since 2020.

There are still around 90 other cold cases in the county.

Allison’s family has a piece of advice for others waiting for answers.

“You keep on. And if it takes 50 calls a day to Greenville County or any other county then that’s what you do. You don’t give up,” said Morrison.

The family says they are grateful for the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office, especially the cold case unit.

They also say they appreciate the efforts there were more than a decade ago to get to the point where a warrant has been issued.