Murders grabbed headlines in 2012
Throughout 2012 Union County witnessed a spate of murders. While some arrests have been made, other remain unsolved.
Some of the cases involved multiple victims.
Frech Murder Suicide
In March two bodies were found at 1234 Rosa Drive.
A neighbor came to the police station to report that he had not seen the residents of 1234 Rosa Drive as he usually did. There was no response when officers knocked on the door and when they looked through the window they saw a man sitting on the living room couch. Officers saw blood on the man’s face and chose to go ahead and make a forced entry.
The man on the couch was Charles Frech Jr., 70, who was a resident of the home. He was found to have died from a gunshot wound to the head. Officers found three notes presumably written by Frech that said he shot the love of his life then shot himself. In an upstairs bedroom, police found the body of Martha Hendrikson Frech, 65, who was also a resident of the home, lying in bed and covered with a sheet. She appeared to have died from a gunshot wound to the head a while before Frech shot himself.
There had been no prior reports of domestic violence between the couple. Martha Frech’s body was surrounded by flower bouquets when officers found her. According to her Facebook page, she was a retired nurse, was from Portland, Ore., and had lived in San Rabon, Ca. for many years. Posts on the page also revealed that she was passionate about animal rescue and adoption as well as about protecting animals.
On July 7, three bodies were found in a house on a quiet street in Marshville.
The bodies were discovered by Randall Hank Morrison, 24, who would be arrested for the murders days later.
Jerry Wayne Marsh, 61, Ronnie Dale Overcash, 46 and Crystal Dawn Hicks, 38, were found on the scene.
The investigation involved multiple agencies, including the State Bureau of Investigation, South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, the local Federal Bureau of Investigation and others.
Morrison was arrested July 11, four days after the murders.
Morrison lived to the left of the home Overcash shared with Hicks, his girlfriend. Marsh lived to the right of that home.
Autopsy reports showed that Marsh died as a result of a stab wound to the neck. Three shotgun wounds were listed as contributory. Marsh had been stabbed eight times, shot three times and sustained blunt force trauma.
The reports showed that Overcash died from one shotgun wound to the chest.
The autopsy for Hicks has not been completed.
The suspected murder weapon, a shotgun, was found in the woods behind the house in the fall. Several knives have been collected, though police are unsure if the murder weapon is among them.
Morrison has been charged with three counts of first-degree murder and robbery with a dangerous weapon.
A trial date has not yet been set.
The Union County Sheriff’s Office arrested Bradrick Layne Wolfe in August in connection with the murders of David Lee Bass (Wolfe’s father-in-law) and David Clay Bass (Wolfe’s brother-in-law).
On the day of the murders, Sheriff’s deputies responded to 3309 Lanesboro in connection with a report about a shooting. When they arrived, deputies found the bodies of David Lee Bass and David Clay Bass in the home’s driveway, both of whom had been shot.
Witnesses told officers that Wolfe fled on a motorcycle. Members of the North Carolina Highway Patrol chased Wolfe on Highway 109 and he was later arrested by Anson County Sheriff deputies and returned to Union County. The murder weapon was recovered in the case and the motive for the shooting was described as domestic in nature.
Wolfe confessed to the murders, authorities say.
Charles Godwin Murder
No arrests have been made in the case involving the death of Charles Godwin, 60, of 3630 Holly School Road.
Godwin’s body was found at his home, which is in the Marshville-New Salem area near Olive Branch Road in August.
At the time, Godwin was an employee of Austin Grading in Marshville and when he didn’t show up for work, his coworkers became concerned and alerted his family.
Union County Sheriff’s Office detectives and agents from the State Bureau of Investigation processed the scene for most of the day after Godwin’s body was discovered and deemed the death a homicide.
At the time Godwin’s body was discovered, the Sheriff’s Office did not go into detail about the manner in which Godwin was found or how he died. Godwin’s death in August was the sixth homicide at the time to have been reported in the Marshville area in the last two months.
According to an obituary notice for Godwin, he worked as a grading operator with Austin Grading Company and was the owner of Gourdvine Creek Outfitters and the former owner of Godwin Logging Company.
Ismail Murder Suicide
In November, the bodies of Mary Overman Ismail, 36, of Sikes Mill Road an Bobby Ihab Ismail, 45, of 316 West Lawyers Road were found in the driveway near 1365 Sikes Mill Road with apparent gunshot wounds.
A 9-year-old child who was sitting in a white truck with Mary Ismail waiting for the school bus reportedly witnessed the shooting. Bobby Ismail allegedly pulled up beside the truck and shot Mary Ismail before turning the gun on himself. The child was not harmed in the incident and was later found at a nearby child development center. Mary and Bobby Ismail were married but living apart at the time of the shooting. The 9-year-old who witnessed the incident was put into custody of the Department of Social Services afterwards.
According to court documents, Mary Ismail filed a complaint and motion for domestic violence protective order in Union County in September. In the complaint, she discussed interactions between her and Bobby Ismail and mentioned that her children were afraid of him and that he was verbally and physically abusive. She also mentioned that she was afraid of him taking their children from school and that the children did not want to go back to him. In the complaint she also says that Bobby Ismail had several guns that included a pistol and other kinds and that she was not sure if he had a license for the guns but he kept one at his bedside and others in his closet.
A civil summons for domestic violence was served to Bobby Ismail on Sept. 24 and a hearing on the domestic violence protection order was scheduled for Oct. 2. The action was later dismissed by the Court’s conclusion that Mary Ismail failed to prove grounds for issuance of a domestic violence protective order. On Oct. 4, a copy of the domestic violence protection order was given to the schools Mary and Bobby Ismail’s children attended. According to incident reports from the Union County Sheriff’s Office website, deputies responded to the 300 block of W. Lawyers Road on July 27 and Sept. 28. The July report refers to a civil 50 b seizure, which is domestic violence related. The report also listed under property description guns-other, guns-shotguns, ammunitions, guns-rifles, guns-handguns. The Sept. 28 report refers to a call for service at 9:03 a.m. in the 300 Block of W. Lawyers Road and lists Bobby Ismail as a victim and under a section titled how attacked or committed stated “Presence of Victim/Unknown.”