BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD) – The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office says they are investigating after finding a woman deceased following an arson incident.
Deputies responded to a residential alarm Monday morning and saw smoke and fire coming from a Pineville home with witnesses stating that the homeowner was trapped inside.
An investigation found the fire was set intentionally.
“This was a horrendous act of violence and not typical of the Pineville community.” Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis said. “Any information, no matter how much or how little, could assist investigators with their case. It’s important to come forward.”
Chief Deputy Coroner Darnell Hartwell was identified as 86-year-old Essie Benekin.
Sheriff Lewis says Benekin was a beloved woman in the community, cooked free meals for strangers, and was a leader in her church.
“It’s really torn this family up. I met with the family yesterday and went through some things to reassure them. It’s a sad situation that an elderly female would have to lose their life, in this way,” says Sheriff Lewis.
No suspects have been named as of yet.
The sheriff’s office is asking the public to contact them with any information relevant to the incident.