Search continues for missing 8-year-old Bennettsville girl; arre - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

Search continues for missing 8-year-old Bennettsville girl; arrest made in mom's murder

Iyana Lowery (Source: Family of Iyana Lowery) Iyana Lowery (Source: Family of Iyana Lowery)
Ella Lowery (Source: MCSO) Ella Lowery (Source: MCSO)
Dwayne Bright (Source: MCSO) Dwayne Bright (Source: MCSO)

MARLBORO COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Dwayne Jermaine Bright, 36, of Bennettsville, has been arrested for the murder of Ella Shantrica Lowery, who was found dead in her home on Craig Circle Friday, according to Sheriff Lemon with the Marlboro County Sheriff's Office.

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

Lowery's eight-year-old daughter, Iyana Lowery, is still missing and officers are actively seeking any information or tips.

On Monday, the MCSO set up a mobile command post in the Walmart parking lot along Highway 9 and encouraged anyone to come by and provide tips or information about Iyana.

The FBI and the State Law Enforcement Division are both assisting the sheriff's office with locating Iyana. SCDNR was asked to assist on Monday afternoon. Boats and crews were surface scanning Lake Wallace along with a SCDNR airplane above. The lake is a mile away from Bright's home.

Neighbors along Craig Circle knew the Lowery family and said it is overwhelming.

"It’s shocking to the community and to the city and I mean all over," said resident Ronnie Smith. "This is a low-crime area; there is no crime in this neighborhood and my hearts and prayers go out to the Lowery family and I have been here for 27 years and nothing like this has every happened."

Smith added his family even knew Iyana and would play outside with her.

"I have a grandkid that’s 8 years old also. One 8, 7 and 4, so I just hate this," Smith said. "I can’t imagine. I don’t wish this on anybody; nobody should have to go through this."

The officers are expanding the areas of Craig Circle, according to the MCSO. Almost 200 officers from Marlboro County, Chesterfield County, Bennettsville police, the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division and the FBI are helping out.  

“To see how law enforcement and everybody is out working tireless hours and putting the hours of force in, it makes you really appreciate law enforcement and what we have around here,” Smith said.

Lemon said officers as working as hard as possible to find the missing 8-year-old.

"All agencies are working 20-hour days to accomplish this," Lemon said. "We have expertise from all around the United States collaborating to bring Iyana home." 

Lowery is described as 4 feet 2 inches tall and weighing 100 pounds.

Anyone with information can call the MCSO at 843-479-5605, 911 or 1-888-Crime SC.

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