Christopher Heck (Source: Clarendon County Detention Center)
MANNING, SC (WIS) - When South Carolina Highway Patrol troopers pulled over 28-year-old Christopher Heck the night before Thanksgiving in Florence, they had a feeling something wasn't right with the man they'd just charged with DUI.
So, troopers decided to search his car. That search turned up several stolen items and an identification card belonging to a 47-year-old woman named Charlotte Altman.
Clarendon County investigators went to the Beaver Dr. address Friday to talk to Altman about the items found during the traffic stop and that's when they found signs of a break-in.
When they went inside, they found Altman's body on the kitchen floor and signs that she had been stabbed in the neck.
"It was a family member's residence," said Clarendon County Sheriff's Captain Kipp Coker. "She was coming down on the weekends to clean up the residence, and it was my understanding she may have been trying to move down here."
Deputies say Heck is from Huntington, West Virginia, but was currently staying with his grandmother in the home next to Altman, who is from Camden.
"As far as the relationship between the suspect and the victim, we think they just knew that they lived beside each other," said Captain Coker. "There was no relationship. He just knew that she was coming in and out on the weekends."
Deputies believe Heck broke into Altman's home when she wasn't there sometime last week.
"Our belief is that Mr. Heck was inside the residence when Ms. Altman got home and kind of surprised her and things happened from there," said Coker.
Officials say Altman was stabbed to death, and add that they found her dog behind a closed door in another room in the house. They are currently working to determine a timeline for the murder.
"This was pretty horrific," said Coker. "Why he did it? I don't know, but this was pretty horrific."
Deputies say prior to the traffic stop that led to Heck's arrest, they were investigating Heck's possible connection to two other recent burglaries in Clarendon County. Officials say while they continue to investigate the murder, Heck could face additional charges in separate cases.
"We're crossing our T's and dotting our I's and making sure we're following up on things we are getting through the investigation," said Coker.
Heck is being held without bond at the Clarendon County Detention Center. No hearings for Heck scheduled at this time.
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