Years after Pendleton quadruple homicide, sheriff names persons of interest

Victim’s sister says she believes justice will come “in God’s time.”
Two persons of interests have been named in a quadruple homicide case from 2015 in Anderson County
Published: Mar. 14, 2023 at 5:57 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 15, 2023 at 2:09 PM EDT
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PENDLETON, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - More than seven years after four people were murdered inside their home in Pendleton, the sheriff of Anderson County has named two persons of interest in the case.

The bodies of Michael and Cathy Scott, along with their mothers Barbara Scott and Violet Taylor, were found in a house on Refuge Road on Nov. 2, 2015. Investigators believe they were killed days earlier since Halloween candy was still by the front door. There was no sign of forced entry to the home, but a safe normally filled with cash was empty.

Their loved ones have endured a long wait for justice. Pam Isbell, Michael Scott’s sister, said thoughts of her brother and mother never leave her mind.

“Whenever I start to doubt - and I do, I doubt, I question why - but my mother’s belief in God always gets me through,” Isbell said. “I just know that it’s going to happen in God’s time.”

The bodies of 80-year-old Barbara Scott, 60-year-old Cathy Scott, 59-year-old Michael Scott,...
The bodies of 80-year-old Barbara Scott, 60-year-old Cathy Scott, 59-year-old Michael Scott, and 82-year-old Violet Taylor were found in a home in Pendleton on Nov. 2, 2015.(Provided by family)

Sheriff Chad McBride, who inherited the unsolved case when he was elected in 2016, has said for years that he is confident about who he believes committed the murders - but investigators are still working to firm up their case.

He hopes a podcast released in March by Unsolved Mysteries, which puts the case in the national spotlight, will help get more answers in the investigation. Anderson County Staff Sergeant Scotty Hill told producers with Unsolved Mysteries that he doesn’t believe the murders were committed by a stranger.

“The family had to have known them because nobody put up a fight until after the attack occurred or started,” Hill said in the podcast.

McBride echoed this opinion.

“It is not a crime of randomness,” he said. “It is a very planned, personal crime is what this is. And all the details in the crime point to it being very personal and it had to be somebody they knew very well.”

In an interview only on FOX Carolina, McBride named Cathy Scott’s daughter Amy Vilardi and her husband Ross Vilardi as persons of interest in the investigation. The couple has always adamantly denied any involvement in the murders and want to find the person responsible more than anyone, according to their former attorney.

The Vilardis lived on the same property, just steps away from the home where their family members were stabbed to death and then shot postmortem. They later remodeled the house where the homicides occurred and moved into it.

McBride said investigators have been able to rule out other suspects in the case.

Sheriff Chad McBride said Amy Vilardi and her husband Ross Vilardi are considered persons of interest in the investigation.

During search warrants executed on Refuge Road, deputies seized $60,000 in cash, nearly two dozen firearms, boxes of ammunition, two vehicles, laptops, video game consoles, and cell phones. The Vilardis sued the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, saying their property was being held for an unreasonable amount of time and claiming tests performed on the items did not link them to any wrongdoing.

Amy Vilardi spoke to FOX Carolina in 2016 about “Facebook detectives” and other groups on social media who accused her and her husband of committing the murders. She said they were cooperating with investigators, including both taking polygraph tests.

“I want to do everything I can so they can move along in the investigation,” Vilardi said at the time.

New evidence has been uncovered, according to the sheriff, and he hopes a jury will be able to hear the case in “the near future.” However, McBride says nothing will ever right the wrong that was committed against the Scotts and their elderly mothers.

“Even when that day comes and we’re able to bring justice, I don’t think there’s enough justice to be given to them on this earth,” McBride said.

At this time, no charges have been filed in the quadruple homicide investigation, but the sheriff said the double murder conviction of Alex Murdaugh could help investigators.

“The Murdaugh case was very interesting you know, to say the least,” McBride said. “There was a lot of circumstantial evidence. And it’s a lot like our case, we have some evidence. It’s not just circumstantial.”

FOX Carolina has reached out to the Vilardis for comment.