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Lee County Coroner: Davis died of gunshot wound to the head

Posted: March 12, 2018 4:39 p.m.
Updated: March 13, 2018 1:00 a.m.
C-I file photo/

Adam Ray Davis

More than a year after a set of hand-written GPS coordinates led authorities to Adam Davis’ body, the manner of his death can be known.

Lee County Coroner Larry J. Logan confirmed Monday that Davis, 35, of Bethune, died of a gunshot wound to the head.

Logan had jurisdiction over the inquest because Kershaw and Lee county deputies -- with assistance from the S.C. State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) -- recovered Davis’ body a year ago last week in a shallow grave in Lee County. The GPS coordinates, hand-written in pencil, had been sent to then Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Chief Deputy Marvin Brown. They were sent inside an envelope via the U.S. Postal service, written on a single piece of paper.

The coordinates came back to an area off Post Road in Lee County, which can be accessed from the north via S.C. 341 or from the south by Kelly Bridge Road.

At a March 10, 2017, press conference, Kershaw County Sheriff Jim Matthews provided the media with details about how deputies found Davis’ remains. Davis’ body had been located two days earlier. As of that press conference, Matthews had said no visible wounds were seen when Davis’ body was removed.

About two hours later, Matthews sent an email to the media alerting reporters the case was being treated as a murder investigation based on information obtained during a preliminary autopsy. However, Matthews declined to cite the exact cause of death because it was part of the murder investigation.

During the year since, the C-I has asked for more information about the case, each time with Matthews declining to provide details, including the cause of death.

Since deputies recovered Davis’ body in Lee County, the C-I contacted Logan on Monday morning, who divulged the gunshot wound.

The C-I then contacted Matthews who said he could not dispute Logan’s statement.

“I’m not sure if it will have a major impact on the case now,” Matthews said.

He also said that since investigators still are not sure exactly where Davis died, the case is still being handled by the KCSO.

When asked why he had held back on the detail previously, Matthews said that he had responded that way in the time after Davis’ body was recovered because they had few leads to go on at that point.

“I often defer to my investigators if they ask me to hold back on something,” he said.

The other piece of information Matthews has held back on is from where the envelope sent to former Chief Deputy Brown was sent. It was mailed through the U.S. Postal Service and, therefore, should have a cancelled stamp. Monday, Matthews said he was unsure of the envelope’s origin.

As for why there have been no arrests in the case, Matthews has also said that decision is based on advice from the 5th Circuit Solicitor’s Office. In an email Thursday, Solicitor Dan Johnson said that while law enforcement is not required to seek his office’s advice, his solicitors are available 24 hours a day to provide legal opinions as to probably cause. However, he also said, “In South Carolina, the decision as to whether or not to seek an arrest warrant against an individual rests with the discretion of the law enforcement officer/agency.”

Matthews also confirmed Monday that Davis’ family is aware of how he died, but reiterated his thought that he did not think the public knowing the cause of Davis’ death would be helpful to the investigation.


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