Man charged in 1998 Dorchester Co. cold case homicide
SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCSC) - The Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office announced the arrest of a St. Matthews man in connection with a 1998 killing.
Charles Edward Goodwin Jr,, 43, is charged with murder in the Dec. 20, 1998, killing of 42-year-old Stephanie Thompson, according to court documents.
Dorchester County Sheriff L.C. Knight said Goodwin was arrested in an unrelated felony DUI case but that his DNA was put into the FBI’s Combined DNA Index System. A CODIS hit on his DNA on Dec. 10, 2021, then connected him to the Thompson case, Knight said.
“After the sheriff’s office did all their work, compiled all the evidence, put all the DNA we had into the system, we waited and hoped for some results and all of a sudden it pops up,” Sheriff L.C. Knight said. “This young man’s DNA hit the system and we got a positive reaction on it.”
Deputies said Goodwin was arrested Monday morning in Greenville.
The original incident report states Thompson’s body was discovered approximately 20 feet into a wooded area off Franchise Street in North Charleston on Dec. 21, 1998. Franchise Street is directly across from the entrance to Archdale, Lt. Rick Carson said.
The body was discovered by a hunter who was looking for a place to squirrel hunt, the report states. Investigators said the victim was lying face-up on the ground and her clothing below her waist had been removed.
Carson said Thompson had been seen the night before with a man leaving a trailer on Franchise Street. The witness was able to provide a description of the man that led to a composite sketch. DNA evidence collected at the crime scene was sent for analysis, the warrant states.
The cold case was chosen because of a good evidence sample of DNA, which was sent to a private genetics genealogy testing company, Carson said. The results of that test narrowed the search field and also provided an artist’s rendering of the suspect, which Carson said had “a strong resemblance” to the original composite sketch.
Investigators did not say whether they believe Goodwin and Thompson knew each other, but the warrant also alleges that Goodwin “provided false and misleading information about his involvement” in the case during interviews.
Thompson was the mother of three children and her family has been notified of Goodwin’s arrest, Carson said.
“I’m just proud that we were able to bring it to conclusion and we’ll see what the court does with it,” Knight said at a Tuesday morning news conference.
Knight said Goodwin was questioned during the original investigation but said that while he was not cleared, there was not enough evidence to move forward with a case against him.
Detective Adam Wright described Goodwin’s demeanor at the time of his arrest as being with “no emotion.”
“Whenever I told him he was under arrest for murder, he simply said, ‘OK,’” Wright said.
Goodwin was taken to the Dorchester County Sheriff’s Office Monday and was being held at the L.C. Knight Detention Center after a bond hearing Monday afternoon during which a judge denied bond.
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