Sheriff: 'Bob McCaffrey Is Our Suspect'
Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon held a press conference Wednesday to announce the search for Gayle McCaffrey has moved from a missing persons case to a homicide investigation
Investigators searching for Gayle McCaffrey, missing since March 17, now consider her disappearance a homicide case.
Cannon announced the change Wednesday morning during a press conference at the Sheriff's Office. He added that the missing woman's husband Robert McCaffrey is the prime suspect in the case and that officers will be searching a property off Highway 61 across from Drayton Hall on Thursday. The property is located a few miles away from the McCaffrey home.
He said the property presents several challenges for searchers because water covers some parts of the tract and because it is being used as a dumping ground for construction and demolition projects.
"It's an area that is used for dumping material such as you see over here," Cannon said pointing to ongoing demolition work at a shopping center next to the Sheriff's office. "There is a good bit of activity in terms of bulldozers that results in a lot of disturbed ground so it presents those sorts of challenges."
Cannon said analysis of cell phone tower data regarding phones belonging to both Robert McCaffrey and Gayle McCaffrey led investigators to the property.
"Information that we have received in terms of the analysis of cell tower activity suggest that that area is an important one and that we need to search it," he said.
Cannon called the information in the typed letter that Robert McCaffrey told investigators he found when he returned to Charleston on March 18 "bogus."
He again said Robert McCaffrey has not been cooperating with the investigation.
"He has retained counsel, he has not talked with us any further, and everything that we have learned since being notified of her alleged absence, nothing suggests anybody else," Cannon said.
Cannon declined to say much about a possible motive except that investigators know that Robert McCaffrey left the family home on March 17 after an argument and drove to the northern part of Greenville County to meet with another woman. Cannon said investigators had found text messages between the woman and Robert McCaffrey and that the two had some phone conversations.
Cannon speculated that Robert McCaffrey was interested in the woman, but that she did not return his feelings. He added that she has been cooperating with the investigation.
As previously reported, Robert McCaffrey was issued a traffic ticket at 2:15 a.m. on March 18 in Traveler's Rest. Cannon said Robert McCaffrey told officers in the initial report of his wife's disappearance that he returned to Charleston around 6 a.m., but investigators believe he came home earlier than that, and Cannon noted that he did not report Gayle McCaffrey missing until more than 12 hours later at 7:15 p.m. on March 18.
Cannon said if he had probable cause to arrest Robert McCaffrey "he would be in jail now."
"I think there is a tremendous amount of information and evidence pointing to him, but at this point it is circumstantial," Cannon said.