Arrest made in case of dismembered man

ANDERSON COUNTY, SC -- Anderson police arrested a man in connection with the case of a dismembered man.

Sgt. Tony Tilley said Leslie Warren Sandoval, 44, of Due West, voluntarily went with investigators for an interview regarding the death of Seth Barton Foster. Tilley said Sandoval confessed to the murder during the interview.

Sandoval is charged with murder and possession of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime.

An arraignment took place this morning and a bond hearing will be scheduled in circuit court.

"We're very fortunate to have closed this case so quickly after the body was found, because it did present a challenge initially. It was a particular challenge because of the decomposition of the body," said Lt. Tony Tilley.

According to warrants, Sandoval confessed to strangling Foster before dismembering him with a knife. Tilley said Sandoval told investigators where to find the weapon, and they recovered it Saturday morning.

Tilley said Sandoval had a listed address in Due West, but he was known to linger in places frequented by homeless people, like Foster, in Anderson.

Several men at the Haven of Rest Ministries shelter recognized Sandoval's picture and said he used to get free lunches there on a daily basis.

"Just a shock to know that someone like that, (who) appeared to be normal, didn't have a bad attitude or a temper from what I know of him, could do something like that," said Tim Upchurch, a staff member at Haven of Rest Ministries.

Anderson County Coroner Greg Shore has confirmed that investigators found some of the missing remains of a body found Wednesday.

Shore said the body of 54-year-old Foster was found in the crawlspace at 203 W. Earle St missing his head, hands and feet.

"We found the skull, we found two hands and one foot. We are still looking for one more body part. We have a cadaver dog working that area to see if they can locate that," said Shore. "The parts were about in the same state as the rest of the body that was found. We are working to lift fingerprints off the fingers to match our victim. We are glad we have been able to find those to reunite with the body and hopefully help us in determining the matter of death."

Those body parts were located in an area beneath the Goodwin and Pruette Law Firm building where railroad tracks run under main street.

Shore is waiting on DNA from Foster's mother to make his identification official. But said he is confident enough in his preliminary identification to release Foster's name to the media.

Investigators said Foster's body parts had been severed.

Foster's mother, Marie Whitney, told News 4's Mandy Gaither over the phone that her son was left homeless after a troubled relationship with a woman in Belton. Whitney said her son was an alcoholic, and had been going in and out of rehab.

"(Foster) was a wonderful person and he wouldn't have harmed a fly," said Whitney. "I'm just hysterical, to tell you the truth."

Friends Remember Slain Homeless Man

Foster had a tattoo of Yosemite Sam on his right forearm and was wearing a Pendleton High School baseball hoodie with the year 2011 printed on it, investigators said.

Officers said they spoke with workers who had been at the building on behalf of the owner. They said the workers led them to a crawlspace underneath the rear of the building where the body was.

An X-ray of Foster's body showed no foreign objects, Shore said.

Shore said he has some ideas of how the Foster died, but because of the ongoing investigation he isn't able to release that information yet.

Investigators believe Foster's body was cut up at the building, but at this point don't have a motive.

Shore said whoever severed Foster's body parts might have been trying to cover up the victim's identity.

If it weren't for Foster's tattoo, Shore said it would have been a lot harder to identify the body.

"(The) police department recognized that tattoo and went back to their booking records and they pulled a record which helped us tentatively identify our victim as Mr. Foster," said Shore. "Some times the smallest thing will lead us to get answers."

While Shore is still investigating, he estimates Foster's body had been in that building anywhere between two weeks and 30 days.

If you have any information regarding this case, please call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.

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