Coroner: Teen 5th Killed By Apparent Serial Killer

A teenage girl shot while helping her father in their family's small furniture and appliance store died Saturday, becoming the fifth victim of a suspected serial killer terrorizing a small South Carolina community, authorities said.

Abby Tyler, 15, died about 11:15 a.m. at a Spartanburg hospital after fighting for her life for two days, Cherokee County Coroner Dennis Fowler said.

Tyler was wounded and her father was killed Thursday as they worked to close the Tyler Home Center near downtown Gaffney.

County Sheriff Bill Blanton said investigators believe the killings are linked and the search is on for a suspected male serial killer. An 83-year-old mother and her daughter were shot to death Wednesday, and a 63-year-old peach farmer was found dead at his home a week ago.

Blanton said all the victims were shot, but he would not say how the deaths were linked. The shootings all occurred within about 10 miles of each other in Cherokee County, a rural community of 54,000 people set amid peach orchards and farms some 50 miles west of Charlotte, N.C.

The spree had alarmed residents canceling Independence Day holiday plans and arming themselves. The sheriff has warned door-to-door salesmen to stop knocking and anyone who breaks down on the county's rural roads to wait instead of walking to a house for help because he worries "people are going to start shooting at shadows."

The killings began a week ago Saturday when the wife of 63-year-old peach farmer Kline Cash found him dead in their home. Then last Wednesday, relatives found 83-year-old Hazel Linder and her 50-year-old daughter, Gena Linder Parker, bound and shot to death in a separate shooting at Linder's home.

Dozens of local, state and federal investigators were assigned to the case when the killings were linked. But a day later, the killer struck again, less than a half-mile from the sheriff's office serving as the headquarters for the investigation, killing 48-year-old Stephen Tyler and his daughter.

"We're knee-deep in the investigation," Blanton said Sunday. "There's fear and concern here and there should be concern."

Investigators have released a sketch of the suspect, saying he is in his 40s, with salt and pepper hair, about 6-foot-2, and roughly 200 pounds. They think he is driving a silver 1991-1994 Ford Explorer.

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  • by Casandra Location: Wilson on Jul 6, 2009 at 06:00 PM
    Derrick, you are a racist idiot and I am black.
  • by Wanda Location: Kenansville on Jul 6, 2009 at 01:09 PM
    Who cares about race? This sicko is killing people because he's CRAZY!
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on Jul 6, 2009 at 01:04 PM
    Derrick, White people are upset about it. But you don't see no White preachers down there making excuses for him, now do you? So called preachers like Huggins, Sharpton, and Jackson just look for excuses to whine and pout all the time.You know its the truth.
  • by Derrick Location: Greenville on Jul 6, 2009 at 11:54 AM
    White people should be in a rage. This man has killed three more innocent people than james Richardson and they say nothing. I thats right I forgot he's white so that makes him innocent
  • by jojo Location: anywhere on Jul 5, 2009 at 07:32 PM
    to anonymous i agree with you. what does it matter what race you are. when a crime is done it should be about the crime, not color and why is it that most of the time if color is brought up it is by an aa. why can't people get past co;or and think about the victims and their families. may God bless the families of the victims and everyone out there tonight.
  • by MrT Location: LaNC on Jul 5, 2009 at 07:16 PM
    I don't see no stupid so called preacher down there saying he be innocent, that he just want to say goodbye to his family, or that theys making a big racial thing out of this.Maybe its too far for Rufus Huggins to drive, or maybe this shooter doesn't meet the requirements for Rufus to care about him.
  • by hope Location: NC on Jul 5, 2009 at 06:51 PM
    leroy, This story just aired today. The other story you referenced is several days old, & is local. Therefore, more relevant to our community & much more time for the back & forth bantering that has ensued. Anyone could have fired into the crowd that night & people would have been outraged regardless of the shooters skin color. Focusing on race is an unnecessary distraction. We ALL benefit when the trigger man is taken off of the streets. Surely you can understand that.
  • by anonymous Location: east on Jul 5, 2009 at 05:51 PM
    Who cares if they are black, white, purple or polka dotted!!!! The fact of the matter is there is a serial killer on the loose !!!! Lets all do our part - pray for the families involved and if we see this person call the autorities!!
  • by Anonymous Location: Bath, NC on Jul 5, 2009 at 02:18 PM
    Leroy, I don't see where in the article it tells us that this serial killer is a "white man who is mad at the world because he lost his job." I believe you must be racial profiling, isn't that exactly what you are complaining about people doing in the other shooting case? It seems you must be a racist just like you are accusing the others of being... White or black, a serial killer is serious and a horrible threat in a town, I can only pray for the families who have lost loved ones and the thousands living in fear. God be with all of you! To anyone else like Leroy, lets leave the speculation about the killer to the professional profilers and stop trying to start something.
  • by Anonymous on Jul 5, 2009 at 02:13 PM
    Well Leroy isn't it interesting that you were the first person to bring up race in the comments regarding this news article? I will admit that most of the time it does seem that the crazy/psychotic rampages are mostly done by white men. It would seem that your spur of the moment type of murders are most likely committed by someone that is black. That doesn't make one any less extreme than the other. Murder is murder...and people should pay for what they did. Either way it sucks, it's stupid, it's senseless. I will say that w/ there being a serial killer on the loose, it is creepy. Especially not knowing where he will strike next. None of us are guaranteed tomorrow unfortunately, or even the next minute. We should all be thankful to God for the life we do have...REGARDLESS of our circumstances. Even if it were a situation we were unwillingly placed in. No matter what situation you are placed in, it is NO EXCUSE to take someone else's life. That is unless your own life is in danger.
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