Former Sheriff Al Cannon tells all in mystery of missing West Ashley woman, Gayle McCaffrey

Charleston County News

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – It’s nearly the ninth anniversary of when Gayle McCaffrey, a beloved sister and mother, went missing from her home in West Ashley.

McCaffrey, a mother of two, disappeared without a trace on March 16, 2012.

According to her sister, Debbie Pearson, McCaffrey loved her children, loved to read, worked at The Citadel, and was very active in her church. Pearson says there’s no way she would have decided to leave her kids.

When she disappeared, her husband, Robert McCaffrey, reported her missing to the Charleston County Sheriffs Office.

During the investigation, deputies found a note, supposedly left in the home by Gayle. The note claimed that she had run away and did not want her husband to follow.

Former Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon tells News 2 that it was later determined the note was not written by Gayle.

“We began to investigate that and very quickly found some of what he was telling us to be untrue,” said Cannon.

Deception, along with being uncooperative in the investigation, landed Robert McCaffrey in prison for obstruction of justice. He’s still behind bars at the Kirkland Correctional Institution in Columbia with nearly eight years remaining in his sentence. McCaffrey was up for parole in January 2021, but it was denied.

The case garnered statewide attention.

Now, without a badge to hold him back, Al Cannon is sharing what he thinks really happened.

“We are confident that we know she was murdered, and we are confident we know who did that” said Cannon. He went on to confirm that he believes Robert McCaffrey had something to do with his wife’s disappearance. “The time that he had before we were notified, that we think he had, gave him the opportunity to dispose of the body in any number of locations.”

Cannon says he believes Gayle’s body could be in the West Ashley area or in the upstate where Robert McCaffrey was found driving in the early hours of the morning around the time of Gayle’s disappearance.

An extensive search for Gayle or her body in 2012 did not return any results, but Cannon believes one day the truth will come out.

The Charleston County Sheriff’s Office is still looking for further information about this case. If you have any information, you’re asked to contact the agency.

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