A man who was reported missing a year ago was murdered, police say. Two suspects are now in custody.

Source: Unsplash; Williamsburg County Sheriff's Office

Aug. 27 2021, Published 9:28 a.m. ET

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A man who was reported missing a year ago was murdered and now South Carolina police say two people have been arrested in connection to his killing.

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In August 2020, the family of Harry Barkley, 35, reported him missing to the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office and Williamsburg County Sheriff’s Office. The two counties are neighboring in the northeast part of the state.

Investigators worked to find Barkley by questioning witnesses and following up leads, according to the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office.

In September 2020, police found Barkley’s vehicle dumped in a river.

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In May 2021, remains were found in the woods of Williamsburg County, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The remains were believed to be Barkley. Police said they identified suspects in connection to his death but could not make an arrest until the remains were positively identified.

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On Aug. 25, DNA evidence confirmed the remains were Barkley and police arrested two people in connection to the case.

Eric Wade Hempel, 21, was charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. Hempel was already in custody in Tennessee in connection to a high-speed chase, deputies said. He is now awaiting extradition back to South Carolina.

Shelby Francis Markaley Ashby, 21, was charged with accessory to murder after the fact. She is currently being held in the Georgetown County Detention Center.

Deputies did not detail how the suspects knew the victim or a possible motive for the alleged killing.


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