- Associated Press - Thursday, August 23, 2018

WALTERBORO, S.C. (AP) - A day after the body of a missing South Carolina woman was found in the woods near her home, six people - including two roommates and her landlord - are charged in her death, sheriff’s deputies said.

The body of Ashley Murdaugh, 30, was found Tuesday, buried in woods about 200 yards from the home near Walterboro.

Investigators think Murdaugh was killed Aug. 5, Colleton County Sheriff’s Capt. John Chapman told news outlets. He was quoted as saying by the Post and Courier that “drugs were definitely involved.”

Murdaugh was reported missing Aug. 8 by her sister-in-law, when she failed to show up for her child’s birthday.

“The family from the beginning was very adamant that she was not just missing, that something had happened,” Chapman said. “They gave us several key indicators that supported their suspicions that something had happened, other than just being missing.”

Cynthia Caron, 53, Martina Wolf, 30, and Alfred Taylor Jr., 23, were charged Wednesday with first-degree murder, Chapman said. They had been in jail on unrelated assault charges since Aug. 7.

John Dunigan, 53, is charged with accessory after the fact of murder. Two more people, Wayne Moore and Tammy Lott, were arrested Wednesday night and also face accessory charges.

Authorities are awaiting autopsy results to determine how Murdaugh died.

It was not known if any of those charged have attorneys.

Chapman was guarded in his comments about a motive.

“I want to ensure the family the best prosecution effort I can give them,” he said.

The captain said deputies had received a number of tips about the disappearance, straining department resources. Some of the tips turned out to be false.

“There’s several things that have gone on where we were intentionally derailed during this investigation,” Chapman said.

Caron owned the home where Murdaugh’s body was found. Wolf is Caron’s daughter and Taylor is Wolf’s boyfriend, the captain said.

Murdaugh lived at the home for about two weeks before she was killed. Wolf and Taylor also lived in the home.

It was not known how those charged with accessory knew the other suspects and victim.

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