Seven-year-old Jordan Autry had one holiday wish.
“She wanted one thing for Christmas,” her grandmother, Tracy Baker, said, “and that was something I couldn’t give her. And that was her dad back.”
Jordan’s dad and Tracy’s son, Matthew Autry, was one of almost two dozen people murdered in Horry County in 2018. Police investigated 19 deaths that involved victims killed in criminal cases.
For many families impacted by the crimes, saying the past year has been difficult is an understatement. It was a year filled with questions, doubt, tears and waiting.
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“All I can do is try to figure out what happened, how it happened, how my son felt. Was he scared?” Baker said.
Horry County police say Matthew Autry and Shawn Anderson were shot, stabbed and then burned in a car found in the Socastee area in late July. Several people have been arrested in connection to the incident and await trial.
Baker said there is some comfort that the suspects are in jail, but she knows she is going to have to relive the entire crime again when they face trial.
She struggled to find words to accurately describe 2018.
“It’s hard to explain how hard its been,” she said. “It’s been horrible. His daughter is having a hard time.”
Like the Baker family, members of Good Hope Baptists Church in the Conway area cope with the loss of a loved one. Robert Ford, the church’s choir director, was found dead along with his son in his Highway 19 home in August.
Police classified the killings as a homicide, though no arrests have been made.
“Of course everyone still has the question of why and who?” Pastor John Sullivan said.
Ford was a member of the church for decades and would never hurt another person, Sullivan said. He always helped others, such as taking time to help those with physical difficulties into the choir box.
The past six months have been difficult for the church, the pastor said.
“We just miss him very much,” Sullivan said.
On Jan. 6, 2018, Horry County police went to Barts Road in Loris for a reported shooting. Officers found Kendal Ray, 27, with a gunshot wound. He went to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Quotase “Cortez” Jenrette was arrested in August and charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. He is currently being held without bail.
On Jan. 21, Myrtle Beach police found Colee Muirhead dead inside the Beachcomber Inn on Ocean Boulevard from a gunshot wound.
Chandler Ari Dunmeyer, 19, was charged with her murder in a case prosecutors described as prostitution gone wrong.
In August, Dunmeyer killed himself while living in Dorchester County with his family. He was free on bond ahead of trial.
Laquandian Bromell, 25, was charged with voluntary manslaughter, possession of a weapon during a violent crime and unlawful carrying of a firearm. The charges were related to a March 24 shooting on Radius Road in the Freemont area. Police found Larry T. Wilson dead at the scene.
Bromell awaits trial in the case.
Charles Durant and a passenger in his vehicle were at a stop sign at Spring and Church streets around 9:30 p.m. on April 24. Another car pulled alongside, and someone fired at Durant’s.
Durant died in the gunfire, and the passenger was injured.
Police quickly announced they were searching for Tyshawn “Smoke” Brown in connection to the murder. He has not been arrested to date.
Heath Reaves Jr. was arrested in Philadelphia for his alleged role in the shooting and faces murder and attempted murder charges. A grand jury indicted him in November.
Horry County police responded to a reported shooting May 2 at the Flintlake Apartments. When they entered one of the homes, they found Samantha Cox and Brian Cox dead in an upstairs room.
Police ruled the shooting as a murder-suicide stemming from a domestic incident. Officers also found a witness, who was removed from the residence.
Police say Shawn Tisdale wrestled a gun away from Washington before shooting him. Tisdale, Joey Henry and Gary Jackson were all charged with murder in connection to the shooting. They currently await trial.
An argument over liquor and women led to Quientin Floyd shooting Dennis Bellamy at a Longs residence June 2, police say.
Friends and family who were present said they told Bellamy to leave, and if he had listened, he would still be alive.
Horry County police charged Floyd, 27, of Little River, with voluntary manslaughter, possession of a weapon during a violent crime, unlawful carry and felon in possession of a firearm.
Floyd’s case is still active in Horry County. There have been no court filings since August.
Withers Alley restroom
On June 7, the eve of Carolina Country Music Festival, police responded to gunshots at a downtown Myrtle Beach public restroom for a reported shooting. The restrooms are on Withers Alley off Ocean Boulevard.
When officers arrived they found Sylvester Bellamy shot, and he died a short time later.
Earl Rafel Gaddis Jr. and Terrence Blackwell were charged in connection to the shooting and await trial. In December, Gaddis was charged with killing a man in North Carolina while on bond for the Myrtle Beach incident.
Highway 17 Bypass
Ryan Bryant was trying to escape from the trunk of the car on U.S. 17 Bypass after a drug deal when he was shot near Broadway at the Beach, according to an arrest warrant.
Javaline Tyree Dawkins was charged in connection to the June 27 incident and remains in jail. He requested a court hearing to argue for bond.
In late June, police found Jennifer Fitchett dead in a wooded area off a Palmetto Pointe road. At first, Fitchett’s family was left clueless as to who would want to hurt her.
A week later, police found William Sneeringer dead at a Reef Road home from an apparent suicide. Authorities said they believed Sneeringer killed Fitchett and disposed of her body before killing himself.
Wild Iris Drive
On July 10, police responded to Wild Iris Drive in the Magnolia Pointe apartments after a resident found a victim dead in the parking lot.
Authorities say Mark Verhasselt was shot overnight, but was not found until the next morning.
Police arrested Matthew Isaiah Rivera and Marquis Shawn Brown in North Carolina in connection to the incident. Rivera is currently free on $90,000 bond ahead of trial and Brown only faces a drug charge.
On July 27, officers found a burned car off Butler Road near Enterprise Road in the Socastee area. Inside they found the remains of Matthew Autry and Shawn Anderson.
Arrest warrants say four men conspired to kill the victims. They shot and stabbed the duo and then set the car on fire.
Michael Faile, Zachary Stell, William Tatum and David Cook all face murder and other counts. Faile, Stell and Tatum were denied bond during a November circuit court hearing.
Jeret Cox and Miranda Owens were charged with accessory after the fact.
Food Lion parking lot
A high-profile crime spree spanning two states left one dead, police say.
Officers say Gerard “Jerry” Celentano was shot in his car on Aug. 15 in the parking lot of the Food Lion in Longs off S.C. 9. Some of the suspects were trying to commit a robbery at the Food Lion when the shooting happened, police say.
The suspects then committed robberies at a hotel, broken down motorists in Loris, and robbed a convenience store in North Carolina, police say.
James Bellamy was arrested in North Carolina and is being held on $5 million bond. He is the only arrest to date in connection to the spree.
Police say father and son Robert Ford Jr., 59, and Robbie Ford, 25, were found dead inside their S.C. 19 home on Aug. 17. Horry County Police said they were investigating their deaths as a homicide. Nobody has been charged in connection to the killings.
On Aug. 21, Horry County police responded to a reported burglary on the 4600 block of Adrian Highway. When they arrived, they found 58-year-old Terry Bly dead.
Nobody has been arrested in connection to the case.
Off-duty Riptydz employee, Roger Ramos, 25, was at the Ocean Boulevard grill on Oct. 7 to watch a UFC fight.
A fight started in the bar area, and police say Jakkari Jaquille De’Andre Brown fired a shot inside that killed Ramos. Authorities charged Brown with murder and other crimes in connection to the shooting.
He is scheduled to make an appearance in circuit court for a bond hearing soon.
Witnesses said about 200 people were in the bar area when the shots rang out. Ramos’ friend Daniel Stotler said he saw the gun and went to protect a woman. He looked up to see Ramos lying on the ground and people trying to provide care.
12th Avenue in Conway
In early November, Conway police announced they charged 21-year-old Demond Marquise Hannah with homicide by child abuse, unlawful neglect of a child, abuse/to inflict great bodily injury upon a child and second-degree domestic violence.
Police said Hannah caused injuries to his 2-month-old child at a 12th Avenue apartment in Conway in October.
The baby, Karter Kha’Lil Hannah, died on Oct. 15 from multiple head injuries and hemorrhaging, rib fractures and mass trauma, Horry County Coroner Robert Edge said.
North Myrtle Beach police charged Alyssa Dayvault in December with killing two of her children — soon after they were born — over a 13-month span.
Dayvault faces two counts of homicide by child abuse and two counts of destruction, desecration or removal of human remains. She is being held at J. Reuben Long Detention Center.
She filed for a public defender to represent her.
Officers say Dayvault gave birth to a boy in 2018 and a girl in 2017. She didn’t seek medical attention nor try to save either the children’s lives after childbirth.
She disposed of both babies in garbage bins, according to arrest warrants. North Myrtle Beach police found the boy inside a garbage bin outside of Dayvault’s home in December.
James Bellamy Circle
Just days before Christmas, Horry County police found Brian Nunn, 43, shot in a vehicle on James Bellamy Circle off S.C. 111. Officers classified his killing as a homicide, and nobody has been arrested in the case.
Nunn’s family learned he died on Dec. 22, but it wasn’t until the next day they learned his death was determined to be a murder.
“We were all pretty shocked,” said Tammy Adams, mother of one of his children.