Weather could pose problems in search for signs of missing Aynor woman

DARLINGTON COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Law enforcement officials are turning up the volume in the search for Angie Pipkin, the Aynor woman who has been missing since January.

SLED is using a helicopter to map out the areas around the Great Pee Dee River where dozens will be searching this weekend. Now law enforcement agencies are getting ready to get back out to the area and continue the search on land and in the water Saturday.

Six different agencies will search 20 miles of the Great Pee Dee River, from the Cashua Ferry boat landing down toward 301. Officials are pulling out all kinds of resources.

Officials will be on foot, driving boats, and bringing in a scanning sonar device. The device will map the bottom of the river to look for anything unusual or anything that doesn't belong. The focus has been on the landing area because of a tip that a body of a missing person was dumped in the river, but police haven't found any evidence since they first started searching in early March.

46-year-old Randy Gale Robinson has already been charged with Angie Pipkin's murder, so at this point, officials just want to make sure they have all the evidence.

"Obviously they have enough to make charges, so it's always nice to find evidence," said Sheriff Wayne Byrd. "The more you find, the better your case. And certainly try to bring some closure to the family."

The Great Pee Dee water level is finally at a point law enforcement officials think they can work with. But now we're dealing with more rain in the forecast, which could change things.

This has been a constant problem during the past month. The search has been called off before because of weather, as it is a safety issue and it makes efforts difficult. But it's also a big concern that could be affecting the case. When the water levels go up, all the swamps connected to the Great Pee Dee River flood. So any evidence that might be floating will be pushed further away and back into the woods. What officials are hoping for is a greater chance of evidence at bottom of the river.

On Thursday, a SLED helicopter mapped out the different focus areas for tomorrow's search, and six different agencies will be out Saturday using different resources. Since all this work will be happening at the Cashua Ferry landing tomorrow, the Darlington County Sheriff asks that people avoid this area.

"We know that's a holiday weekend and all, but there's going to be a lot of traffic there," said Byrd. "Different agencies coming in and out, and there's limited space there so it's probably best the general public tries to stays out of that area."

At this point, the Sheriff's Office is even asking that volunteer searchers hold off for now at the Cashua Ferry Boat Landing. The law enforcement search will last pretty much all day Saturday, from 8:00 a.m. on, weather permitting. WMBF News checked with the Horry County Solicitor's Office, and Randy Gale Robinson's bond hearing has not been rescheduled.

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