Greenville police said officers are investigating a homicide after a man’s body was found with traumatic injuries.
Police said officers were called to a house on Garraux Street Tuesday night to perform a welfare check and found the man dead. Police said the death was ruled suspicious.
"The initial findings indicate that the victim appears to have suffered some type of trauma to his body," said Officer Johnathan Bragg in a news release.
After an autopsy, the coroner identified the victim as 53-year-old Anthony Dean Vanderwood. Vanderwood suffered blunt force trauma to the head and was strangled, the coroner said.
His death has been ruled a homicide.
On Wednesday officers said they arrested 26-year-old Seth Bradley Williams on a murder charge in connection with Vanderwood's death.
According to the arrest warrant, Williams is accused of killing Vanderwood during an altercation.
Police said witnesses and CCTV footage helped identify him. Police said detectives located Williams at an emergency room and took him into custody. According to investigators, Williams was at the Bon Secours St. Francis emergency room due to an injury sustained in connection with Vanderwood's death.
The victim did not cause the injury, however.
Vanderwood's friends said they are saddened by his death and still trying to process what happened. "We just don't understand how something like this could happen to a person as nice as Tony Vanderwood," said Sarah Rich, a long-time friend and former employee.
Rich said Vanderwood, a long-time business owner in Greenvillle, had a heart of gold and one of the nicest people she's ever met.
"Tony was the most wonderful, caring person I've ever known," said Rich, "He loved his employees, he loved his customers and everyone loved Tony."
According to former employees, Vanderwood previously owned three liquor stores in Greenville, but had sold them in the last few years.
Rich said she met Vanderwood more than a decade ago when she started working for him at Tony's Liquor Store.
"He was the best boss I ever had," said Rich, "I loved Tony and I will miss him."
Scott Brown, a neighbor of Vanderwood's, said he was shocked by the incident.
"It's very upsetting," Brown said. "I really would have never expected anything like this to have happened here in this neighborhood. This neighborhood is very quiet and family-oriented I feel very safe here."
Bragg also confirmed that Williams and the victim knew each other, though he couldn't go into details of their relationship.
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