CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – New details uncovered by Charleston Police Department (CPD) investigators in the Celia Sweeney case have prompted authorities to upgrade the charges of Mark Walton from accessory after the fact, to murder. Buddy Carr was presumed to be the main suspect, but investigators found him dead of apparent suicide early in the investigation.
Previously, investigators had reason to believe that Walton was involved in the concealment of Sweeney’s body, but did not have sufficient evidence to suggest that he was in Sweeney’s apartment at the time of her death. Walton claimed that spent the night in a nearby apartment with Sweeney’s friend and neighbor.
Newly obtained cell phone records indicate that Walton “traveled 496 steps between 3:03 and 3:12 a.m.” which detectives established was approximately the distance between Sweeney and her neighbor’s apartments. Sweeney’s neighbor confirmed that she and Walton got into an argument and she kicked him out shortly after 3:00 a.m. The last known communications sent from Sweeney’s phone were around 3:00 a.m.
Over the next several hours, the infotainment system on Carr’s Ford F-150 recorded the driver and passenger doors being opened and closed multiple times. Investigators later found a claw hammer with traces of blood on it, located in the passenger door pocket.
Detectives searched the neighbor’s apartment and found a pair of American flag cowboy boots with traces of blood on them as well. Security footage from the night of Sweeney’s death confirms that Walton was wearing the boots.
Around 12:45 p.m. the next day, parking lot security footage from Home Depot shows Walton “putting on gloves prior to touching the ‘Husky’ container” in which Sweeney’s body was later found.
CPD concluded that “the totality of these facts, circumstances, and evidence establish probable cause that Mark Walton was present and a principal actor in Celia Sweeney’s murder.”
Walton is currently being held at the Al Cannon Detention Center.
ORIGINAL MARCH 4, 2020
CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – New details released in the death of Celia Sweeney reveal that the 28-year-old was killed in Charleston and transported to Spartanburg County, where her body was later located by law enforcement.
News 2 has obtained detailed affidavits from the Charleston Police Department (CPD) chronicling the events that led to the discovery of Sweeney’s body and the arrests made so far.
Police say Sweeney was first reported missing by friends and co-workers on February 28th and her vehicle was found abandoned the next day.
CPD conducted a search of Sweeney’s apartment, where witnesses confirmed seeing Sweeney and other involved parties on the night of her death.
Detectives say circumstances inside the apartment revealed that someone had likely sustained fatal injuries, noting a significant amount of blood throughout the apartment and signs of a struggle.
They also located a spent cartridge casing in the living room of the apartment.
According to the affidavit, witnesses told detectives they saw an unknown person driving Sweeney’s Audi S5, and saw the vehicle pull into the parking lot of the apartment complex the evening of February 28th, about four hours after Sweeney’s last known communication.
They said the Audi was followed by a large 4-door pick-up truck, which quickly pulled into the parking lot, picked up the driver of the Audi, and exited the parking lot.
CPD identified the owner of the truck as Buddy Allen Carr, who they identified as a person of interest in the case.
Detectives worked with deputies in Spartanburg County to make contact with Carr at his home, but their attempts to reach him were unsuccessful. A detective noted that Carr’s white pick-up truck was located in the backyard of his residence.
A search warrant was obtained and executed for Carr’s residence. During the search, detectives located Carr dead inside the home with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
They also found a large black “Husky” container on the wood line of the property, about 20 yards away from the truck.
A search of that container revealed the body of Celia Sweeney.
Authorities say Sweeney suffered significant blunt force trauma to her head, which likely resulted in her immediate death.
Detectives also located latex gloves, concrete bags and camouflage nylon straps inside the pick-up truck.
A receipt from Home Depot was also located inside the residence, which revealed the purchase of various cleaning materials, latex gloves, and multiple bags of concrete. The purchase was made on 2/28 at the Charleston location. The debit card used to buy the items belonged to Carr, according to detectives.
On Wednesday, further investigations led the CPD to announce the arrest of 36-year-old Mark Dwayne Walton, who has been charged with accessory after the fact of murder.
According to the report, Walton accompanied Carr to purchase the items used to try and conceal Sweeney’s death.
During a bond hearing for Walton on Wednesday, a family member of Sweeney made a statement, saying in part:
“I think you helped cover up what he did to her, and you could have chosen to help her, and you chose not to. You could have called police… You had choices..and instead, you helped to hide her and you caused so much more pain.”