From the South Carolina Highway Patrol
COLUMBIA – The South Carolina Highway Patrol commended a Florence County trooper for a traffic stop over the Thanksgiving holiday that led to the arrest of a murder suspect.
Senior Trooper A.B. Fox, who is assigned to the Troop Five DUI Team, was on patrol November 23 at 7:15 p.m. in Florence County when he responded to a call regarding a suspected impaired driver on I-95. Fox observed several violations and stopped the suspect's vehicle on David McLeod Boulevard near Evans Street in the city. Fox conducted a sobriety test while Sgt. Eric Jacobs of the Florence Police Department's K-9 Unit searched the vehicle after a K-9 Unit detected the odor of narcotics.
Fox arrested and charged Christopher Martin Heck, 28, with DUI. Fox recovered items from the vehicle during the arrest, including a business card for Investigator Rick Richards of the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office. S/Tpr. Fox contacted Investigator Richards and they met to conduct a more thorough search of Heck's vehicle, which revealed items belonging to a Camden woman. When Richards went to the woman's home, he discovered the body of the woman matching the identity of items found in the vehicle.
"This case stands out to us as an excellent example of using the skills and tools of your training to detect red flags in a traffic stop. Senior Trooper Fox did just that. He then followed up and worked closely with the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office who made the homicide charge," Lt. Col. Mike Oliver, SCHP Interim Commander said. "This incident should also remind our troopers of the dangerous job they have. No traffic stop should ever be considered 'routine.'"
Heck has been charged with first-degree murder and first-degree burglary. He is being held in the Clarendon County Detention Center.
"I can't say enough about Trooper Fox," Clarendon County Sheriff Randy Garrett said. "He realized that something just wasn't right with this subject. He was diligent in his traffic stop. He looked beyond the ticket. If he had just placed him in jail for DUI and the drug charge, that young man could be walking the streets today. Fox helped Rick search that vehicle on his day off. That's going beyond the call of duty. We certainly appreciate his diligence."