Authorities arrest suspect in 37-year-old SC cold case

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BERKELEY COUNTY, S.C. (WCBD/WBTW) – The Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office in South Carolina on Wednesday announced an update to a decades-old cold case.

“I’m proud to announce that our Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office cold case unit, along with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, solved a 37-year-old case,” said Sheriff Duane Lewis.

The case began back in September of 1981. Lewis said two teenagers were shot by an unknown man and left for dead in a remote area of Goose Creek.

“These two lovely young ladies were parked in a vehicle at a subdivision, which was once undeveloped,” he said. “Their innocence was lost that day when an individual targeted them with a violent crime.”

Both girls were only 16-years-old at the time. They were sitting in a car talking about life when authorities say the man approached them with a handgun and immediately ordered both of them out of the vehicle.

They refused, and the suspect pistol-whipped one of the victims, almost knocking her unconscious.

“That not being enough for him, he ordered both of the young girls out of the vehicle and held them at gunpoint,” Lewis said.

He went on to say, “we believe his intentions were to commit a criminal sexual act against these girls. He became nervous, it appears from the investigation, and didn’t know what to do.”

The suspect then shot the girls repeatedly at point-blank range. Sandra Snider was shot once while Laura Patterson was shot three times in the back.

“He then put these girls in the trunk of the vehicle and drove them to a once-remote location, now known as Tanner Plantation.”

It was a heavily wooded area, sparse in residents. He drove them down to the end of Foster Creek Road to a dirt path, where he would leave them for dead.

After he left, one of the victims began crawling to seek help.

“After being shot, crawled all the way out to the road and, thank God, someone came by and she flagged him down,” Lewis said.

Emergency services were dispatched and rushed them to a local hospital for treatment.

It was announced Wednesday Bruce Allen Kirkpatrick was charged this week with assault and kidnapping charges. He is being held at the Berkeley County jail without bond.

Lewis did not explain evidence that lead to Kirkpatrick’s arrest.

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