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Husband and wife charged after teen's body found dismembered near home, officials say

LANCASTER, S.C. (WBTV) -- A husband and wife were arrested in connection with a homicide investigation that began after human remains were discovered in Lancaster Thursday morning.

Deputies from the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office found the remains while searching two homes in the 1800 block of High Point Circle after someone called in stating a crime may have occurred. Police identified the victim as 18-year-old Austin Tyler Steele.

Christopher Holford and Brandy Duncan were both arrested and charged in the case on Friday. Officials say Holford is charged with murder and Duncan is charged with accessory. The couple was married in February.

Investigators said they believe Holford shot Steele in the neck on the property several weeks ago. Steele reportedly lived into the night but died the next morning.

Deputies say Holford then dismembered Steele and concealed the body around the property.

"A human torso absent limbs was found buried on the property. A human skull was found outside. Bones were found in a burn barrel. Bones were found in a box under the mobile home. A revolver was found in the main house. An axe, a broken sword, and knives were found in the mobile home," a press release stated.

The person who reported the crime told deputies she was informed by another person that a homicide had occurred at the residence on an unknown date several weeks ago.

Another deputy arrived to assist, and additional information was obtained indicating that the victim's body was disposed of at the home.

Other deputies, investigators, and crime scene investigators responded and corroborated information that had been provided. A search warrant was obtained for the property.

Animal control was seen leaving the scene Friday, as there were apparently eight dogs in the home deputies were looking through.

According to Sheriff Barry Faile, a suspect was in custody on unrelated charges Thursday evening, and deputies do not believe the public is in danger.

Deputies held a press conference at 2:30 p.m. Friday afternoon to provide more details.

Anyone with information about this or any other case should call the Lancaster County Sheriff's Office at 803-283-3388 or contact Midlands Crimestoppers in one at 888-274-6372.

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