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October 27th, 2009
05:50 AM ET

Husband found dead, wife still missing

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[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/10/26/art.crime.sc.staton.jpg caption="Homer and JoAnn Staton were reported missing last week."]

Gabriel Falcon
AC360° Writer

The body of an elderly South Carolina man, who was reported missing along with his wife last week, was found in a wooded area near Belton, S.C., authorities said.

Homer L. Staton, 72, of Taylors, South Carolina, died of blunt force trauma to the head, the Anderson County Medical Examiner announced today. Police have classified the case as a homicide investigation. They also continue to search for the victim’s 69-year-old wife, Jo Ann M. Staton. The couple was last seen Friday afternoon in Greenville County.

On Saturday, their 2007 Black Toyota Camry was located in Anderson County. Investigators said there were bloodstains on the interior of the car. Mrs. Staton’s purse was also inside the vehicle.

Mr. Staton’s body was found Sunday, a few miles away from the car in the tree line off a country road, said Lt. Garland Major, Unit Commander for the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office. “We don’t know really where the homicide took place,” Lt. Major told CNN. He also said searches of the area, including the use of cadaver dogs, did not yield any new information or evidence.

Investigators are not ruling out any motive at this point. “I don’t want to tie myself down,” Lt. Major said. “We are looking at all possibilities, car jacking, robbery, maybe somebody didn’t like him.”

A missing persons investigation remains in effect for Mrs. Staton, but Lt. Major fears she may have also been the victim of a violent crime.

“We are hoping that she is not, but with the fact of the blood in the car and that we found him dead, that is a distinct possibility that she is deceased, but we are hoping that she is not.”

Anyone with information is being urged to contact the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office at 864-260-4440.

For more crime coverage go to cnn.com/crime.


Filed under: 360° Radar • Crime & Punishment • Gabe Falcon
soundoff (40 Responses)
  1. sclawboy

    Some of you have posted that if he were armed, he would be alive. Local media have reported that he was known to carry a gun because he bought and sold jewelry and that he had a gun on him when he was found. A lot of good that did him.

    Don't act like carrying a gun makes you invincible. It didn't help this guy.

    October 28, 2009 at 9:52 am |
  2. MJ

    For advocates of gun control: Its bad that Mr Staton had to die the way he did but hey, maybe this would have happened to him some years back just for the fact that he looked at someone the wrong way. This would happen if everyone were allowed to carry guns. Cut me off in traffic, I blow your brains out!

    October 28, 2009 at 9:51 am |
  3. Lindsey, South Carolina

    I live in Greenville, SC and this story is all anyone can talk about. It is such a tragedy that someone would attack these good people. Mr. Staton was armed because they found his gun still on him. He may not have had time or been able to draw his weapon. I pray that they find Mrs. Staton soon. I also hope that they find the monster that did this and bring him to justice.

    October 28, 2009 at 9:45 am |
  4. mark

    I do agree with Missy. DK you are sadly mis-informed.

    It's unbeleviable that the people with the anti-firearm sentiments are so naive. They always think the worst will happen if a law abiding citizen has a firearm.

    I'm sure the unarmed doctor who was being stabbed today in Boston is glad that none of you were present but grateful that an off duty security guard was armed and there to save her life. Let's hope that Mrs. Staton is found unharmed and that her husbands killer(s) can be brought to justice...if such a thing still exists

    October 28, 2009 at 9:37 am |
  5. shannon

    i am so sick of hearing about harm being done to elderly people and children. i don't know what the solution is, but i do know that this is a problem, and that criminals are becoming nothing more than barbaric animals. i hope justice is served and i hope that one day i can read the news and not feel like crying.

    October 28, 2009 at 9:34 am |
  6. Jonathan

    If we were to take guns away from citizens it would be a lot worse than it is now. With us allowing people to have guns we can at least keep track of it, now if we take away that right then there would be way more crime because you cant control it.

    October 28, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  7. GPENN

    To Ken and all the other gun advocates who chose to bring up guns in this tragic story. SC has very liberal self defense and gun carry laws and yet crime has risen in the state. You assume a lot by claiming guns may have prevented this tragic event. You or one of your family members have a better chance of dying by your own gun then you ever will have of preventing a crime with it.

    October 28, 2009 at 9:18 am |
  8. ohbrandi

    DK – what country are you from? Every citizen of the age of majority in these united states, who have not committed some crime to remove the privilege, has the constitutional right to own guns.

    The Second Amendment
    A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    October 28, 2009 at 9:16 am |
  9. Mark

    I live in the area this crime occured. Local news reports that Mr. Stanton has a concealed weapons permit and that his weapon was found on his body when he was recovered. Poor soul never had a chance to defend himself and his wife. Just because you are armed does not always stack the odds in your favor.

    October 28, 2009 at 9:02 am |
  10. Gayle

    I live in NC and this is the first I've even heard about this. I'm shocked! I just happened upon this page, while looking at the Nancy Grace Show.
    I'll check this out closed to home!

    October 28, 2009 at 9:01 am |
  11. Latreviashya

    I hope for the safe return of the wife and that the person or persons who committed this crime are brought to justice.

    October 28, 2009 at 8:51 am |
  12. Latreviashya

    This is such a sad case !

    October 28, 2009 at 8:50 am |
  13. Ricky L

    All I know is that a man IS dead.....in possession of a weapon he MIGHT be alive.....

    October 28, 2009 at 8:49 am |
  14. Sherri

    There are alternatives to guns. I walk with pepper spray for example. And I've considered purchasing a taser. I don't believe the government should use guns either. How many innocent people have they killed accidently? Guns are nothing but trouble. You cannot bring back a life if you mistakenly kill someone. I just believe they should be erradicated entirely and that we should find alternatives.

    October 28, 2009 at 8:12 am |
  15. dee

    before you know it we will be all dead! the goverment going to kill us all, they let all these people in our country thinking they can take away our right to god? these people from another country they would kill their own mother ! i do hope the find the killer! who took a man life for a few dollers?? and i hope they find his wife, god bless them.

    October 28, 2009 at 8:12 am |
  16. Nita Mann

    It is very sad that these situations continue everyday. Although I am personally an advocate of conceal carry, the background check and training should be much more restrictive. I can assure you that the perps of this crime have had encounters with law enforcement and were probably released on a $100.00 bond and given probation. We have taken discipline and church out of the schools and some children receive neither at home. Until we make criminals truly "pay" for their crimes and quit coddling our criminals and children, this will only get worse. Children and adults need to be made to take responsibility for their actions. Little thugs grow up to be big thugs.

    October 28, 2009 at 8:10 am |
  17. Gem

    It's not fair to those people who is trying to be a good aviding citizen, here come the thugs the killers and the rapist roaming around, they committed the crimes, served for couple of years, then put them back on the street and do all over again, "what a joke" do you think they can find a better solution to this problem. oh what about an island for those nut head, so if they hurt each other much better, maybe then, they will realize how it feels.

    October 28, 2009 at 7:12 am |
  18. greg

    If he was armed, he would not be dead.

    October 28, 2009 at 5:37 am |
  19. GiGi

    You guys are insane to be debating gun ownership in this thread. This is a sad thing and I hope they find her alive. Using this story as an excuse to argue political issues is just disrespectful. Go someplace else to debate.

    October 28, 2009 at 3:07 am |
  20. chuckmo

    why do people think that if you have a gun on you , that you are automatically protected. If a person wants to kill you and has no fear for his or her life , there is not much you can do about it, no matter how many guns you have.

    October 28, 2009 at 1:41 am |
  21. Ken

    The topic of gun control derives from the tragic events that happened to this couple and many other horror stories that don't even make the news. Yes we can grieve for thier loss, but I happen to agree that if these people were armed and properly trained the use of a weapon that they both might be alive and well today.

    October 27, 2009 at 7:41 pm |
  22. Mending Fences

    Missy, I do agree we need to keep this all in prayer. I would like to however remind all you bleeding heart liberals that the first step to dictatorship and communism is to disarm the people. Look at your history books and see that where there is a government with guns and the people without guns there is a corrupt government. I live in AZ and we are able to carry concealed weapons and I will fight to keep it that way. Our government is corrupt enough I would hate to see what would happen if they disarm "we the people"

    October 27, 2009 at 7:36 pm |
  23. S Callahan

    This is awful for the family, and for society. I pray she is found and justice is served for both of them.

    October 27, 2009 at 7:04 pm |
  24. Julie

    What a sad story. I hope Mrs Staton is alive but it doesn't sound too likely.

    I also am a gun owner & I am a law abiding citizen. If someone breaks into my home or vehicle at least I might have a chance to save myself and/or a loved one. Some of you may choose not to own a gun & that's okay with me because that's YOUR choice. Some of you seem to be very angry that some of us choose to own a gun.

    October 27, 2009 at 6:43 pm |
  25. DK

    MIke- just want to remind you that nobody has a right to a gun....

    October 27, 2009 at 6:38 pm |
  26. Missy

    I find it sad that the conversation turned to that of gun rights and ownership. Let us remind ourselves that a man is dead and a woman is missing. There, in my mind, is no other issue at hand. The family and friends are in need of love and support, not a debate on guns. Keep your focus people. There is suffering in the world with or without weapons. Let us all send our thoughts and prayers to those directly impacted by this tragic event. May they find peace.

    October 27, 2009 at 6:32 pm |
  27. Whatever

    Ahhh yes, let's all get guns, that way when there's road rage, more people can shoot each other over nothing!

    October 27, 2009 at 5:45 pm |
  28. forensic student

    Normal people carrying guns will not solve the problem, only make it worse. People will shoot one another because they get scared and felt threatened. This is a terrible tragedy, but turning to brandishing a weapon is seriously acting like a barbarian!

    I hope they find Mrs. Staton alive, but I agree with the Lt. Major, that she probably isn't.

    October 27, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  29. Mike

    The fact is, states with concealed carry laws generally have lower levels of violent crime. Outlawing guns does not prevent the nuts from having them. Remember, they're nuts. It just prevents rational, law abiding citizens from having them. So you are basically advocating a position of disarming the law abiding citizens because you have generalized everyone who may purchase a gun legally as a nut.

    I am a law abiding gun owner. My state does not have concealed carry, so my weapons stay at home, unloaded and locked up seperate from the ammunition. I am highly trained in the use of a firearm, and as a result, respect what they can do, and safeguard them appropriately. Rather than simply strip away peoples rights, lets push for better education about responsible firearm ownership.

    October 27, 2009 at 5:36 pm |
  30. phxfire

    Dennis, what a crock. Of course legal gun owners kill law abiding citizens, they do it every day. And how do any of you zealots who want to be loose cannons know if he was or wasn't armed? Or if having a weapon would have made a difference in this case? Just another excuse for 'shoot now, ask questions later' fools to promote their agenda. I have rights and they should include not having some nut with a gun placing me in danger – whether its his attitude or his lack of expertise or his anger, etc.

    October 27, 2009 at 5:11 pm |
  31. Ryan

    What really makes me angry is the fact this happened at all. Look at the photograph – they look like a happy, married couple who couldn't have done anything but good. Mr. Staton's smile truly is heartwarming.

    Here's hoping Mr. Staton's death was quick and as painless as possible and that Mrs. Staton is alive and well - and not the murderer (basing it on a possibility.)

    October 27, 2009 at 4:55 pm |
  32. Brittany

    This is so sad, and I hope they find his wife alive so she can tell authorities what happened. This is a scary world that we live in these days and I wish the best to the Staton's family, and may God bless him and his wife.

    October 27, 2009 at 4:54 pm |
  33. hopjak

    Lee and Dennis what tough guys you are, real cowboys. Maybe the killers had a gun and in the time Staton reached for his gun, the killer(s) splatter his brains all over the car.

    Let's all strap a gun on the side of our hip, just like the gun slingers from the old days. Now that's being a real man. Mankind is really making progress. Yes sirree!

    October 27, 2009 at 4:47 pm |
  34. Dennis

    I have to agree with Lee. If normal citizens are armed then criminals may think twice before they commit violent crimes. If that makes you uncomfortable then don't commit crimes. We do not shoot other law abiding citizens.

    October 27, 2009 at 4:34 pm |
  35. Charisse

    I second that Mary!

    October 27, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  36. Mary

    Instead of continuing to call this The United States of America we should change our name to "Animal Planet".

    October 27, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  37. darius

    these has to relly be taling a tal on the family

    October 27, 2009 at 2:09 pm |
  38. Robert Reed

    The wife is certainly not the killer shes been tooken hostage by someone who does not like Mr. Stanton

    October 27, 2009 at 1:40 pm |
  39. lee, new mexico

    If he had been an armed citizen he might still be alive.

    October 27, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  40. eual stanga

    it`s ashame that these crooks if there are some involed in this that they pick on the older folks but that goes to show you how cowardly these thugs are if there is some involed they need to shoot them instead of jail or beat them in the head like they did the man.

    October 27, 2009 at 11:48 am |