A South Carolina newlywed couple has been arrested in connection with the death of their teenage roommate whose burned body parts were scattered on the property where all three lived, PEOPLE confirms.
On Friday, Christopher Holford, 30, of Lancaster, was arrested and charged with murder in the death of Austin Steele, 18, and with possession of a firearm during the commission of a violent crime, according to a statement by the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office.
Holford’s wife, Brandy Duncan, 19, was arrested and charged as an accessory after the fact of murder for allegedly helping her husband bury the teen’s body parts.
“This is stuff you see on TV,” Sheriff Barry Faile said at a news conference on Friday. “I would never imagine that we would find or have someone living in Lancaster County capable of doing these kinds of things. I just wouldn’t believe it.”
Faile added that this is “probably one of the worst cases I’ve experienced in my 28 years.”
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After responding to an early morning call on Thursday from an unidentified complainant who said she had heard about a recent homicide in the area, police found parts of Steele’s remains on the property where the couple and Steele lived, the statement says.
Steele would have turned 19 on Friday, say police.
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Authorities “located a human torso absent the limbs buried on the property,” Faile said. “A human head was found behind the building, underneath several bags.”
Bones were found in a burn barrel and in a box under the mobile home, the statement says.
Investigators found a revolver, an axe, a broken sword and knives in the mobile home.
Rats were crawling all over the porch of the home and on the property, local station WRAL reports.
“No death investigation is without mental burden, but this particular case, from initial notification, to recovery, to processing is very haunting and disturbing,” Lancaster County Administrative Deputy Coroner Jennifer Collins said, local station WSOC-TV reports.
Holford and Duncan were married last month and lived with Steele in a mobile home behind a single-story house on the property.
Several weeks ago, Holford shot Steele in the neck, according to the statement. Faile didn’t offer any details about a possible motive, according to the station.
The next morning, Holford then dismembered the teen’s body, the statement says. He and Duncan hid the body parts on the property, it says.
He said Steele hadn’t been seen for three or four weeks, but had not been officially reported missing.
Shortly before police received the tip about the possible homicide, Holford was arrested on charges of third-degree domestic violence, the statement says.
He was also charged with domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature for allegedly pointing a handgun at Duncan during an incident authorities learned about while investigating the homicide, the statement says.
Since Holford is registered as a sex offender in Florida, he was also charged with failure to provide internet information in connection with the sex offender registry, the statement says.
Holford remains jailed without bond at the Lancaster County jail, the statement says.
Duncan has not yet appeared before a magistrate judge for a bond hearing, the statement says.
It was not immediately clear if Holford and Duncan had entered pleas to any of the charges against them. Attempts to reach attorneys for the couple for comment were unsuccessful.