South Carolina Elementary School Principal Found Shot Dead in Car; Man with Her Arrested

Dr. Wendy Cook, 54, was shot early Sunday morning

Wendy Cook, a school prinicpal who was shot to death
Wendy Cook. Photo: facebook

An elementary school principal from Dillon County, South Carolina was found dead inside a car — and authorities have arrested her acquaintance and charged him with murder.

Dr. Wendy Cook, 54, was found dead of a gunshot wound. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

According to WMBF-TV, deputies were called to the scene on Saturday evening. They found Cook's body in the vehicle along with Kyle Church, 31, who was arrested at the scene. Authorities say that Cook and Church were acquaintances, but they have not given more specifics about their relationship.

PEOPLE confirms that Church has been charged with one count of murder and one count of possession of a weapon during a violent crime. He is being held without bond.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

Cook worked as a principal at Stewart Heights Elementary School. She was employed by the district for nearly 25 years.

Her sudden and violent death has devastated her students and co-workers.

Kyle Church is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime (DPD)
Kyle Church. dpd

"Her colleagues and friends in the Dillon County School District 4 talk about the great work she did leading her school and the many impacts she had on her students and staff," State Superintendent of Education Molly Spearman said in a statement. "My deepest condolences are with the entire Dillon school community as they grieve this loss."

"Wendy's love for life, learning, children and family was always her driving force," her family wrote in an online obituary. "This was evident in her steadfast march through many degrees and doctrines in Education which yielded over 25 years in this very district. Her dedication across all was only matched by her love of the same."

"Every child deserves a champion, an adult who will never give up on them," the obituary continues, "Who understands the power of connection, and insist that they become the best they possibly [can] be. Dr. Wendy Cook was a true champion, and she will live on in each and every one of us."

Church has not yet entered a plea, and court records do not reflect an attorney authorized to speak on his behalf.

Related Articles