The murdered bodies of a husband and wife and each of their elderly mothers were discovered Monday inside a home in the small town of Pendleton, South Carolina, and investigators are seeking help from the public to identify a suspect and a possible motive.
Cops believe the homicide happened early Sunday afternoon, Lt. Sheila Cole, a spokeswoman for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office, tells PEOPLE.
All four victims lived in the same home, Cole says. The victims were Michael Scott, 59, and his wife, Cathy, 60, along with Michael’s mother, 80-year-old Barbara, and Cathy’s mother, 82-year-old Violet Taylor, according to Cole. Cole tells PEOPLE the bodies were found Monday when Cathy’s daughter, Amy Vilardi, stopped by her mother’s home.
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Three of the victims were shot in the living room and another was found in a bedroom, Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore tells PEOPLE, who added that all had at least one gunshot wound.
“What we faced when we walked into this home was very violent and very brutal,” Shore tells PEOPLE.
Michael Scott was a state employee who worked for South Carolina’s Department of Transportation, Shore says. According to shore, Scott had taken several personal days off from work, but he texted his boss Sunday at 1 p.m. to let him know he’d be returning to work on Monday.
A relative who visited the Scott residence at 3 p.m. on Sunday told cops that it appeared no one was home. Shore believes the crime occurred between 1 and 3 p.m.
“Mr. Scott also had a side business where he dabbled with gold and precious metals, so I am not sure if that was a reason for what happened,” Shore says. “The sheriff’s department is looking at all angles here. What is most unusual about this case is, if you take away the four bodies laying there, the house is otherwise immaculate.”
Shore called the murders “puzzling,” saying the home wasn’t rummaged-through, which often happens with murders committed during botched burglaries. Shore wouldn’t say if investigators believe the crime was personal in nature.
“We’re about a day or two from releasing more details about the victims, because there is more to this story than we are releasing,” Shore says. “We haven’t released certain details because we’re hoping to get a head start on finding the perpetrator or perpetrators.”
Detectives are asking that anyone with any information about this case contact the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office at (864) 260-4400 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 274-6372.