Cold case: Family of BikeFest 2014 murder victim hopes for justice

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - It was an annual event that will be remembered for all the wrong reasons. BikeFest 2014 saw five shootings in a 48-hour period.

Among those incidents was a triple-murder that sent the city of Myrtle Beach into a tailspin.

It's believed more than 1,000 people watched as shots rang out at The Bermuda Sands Motel on Ocean Boulevard, yet no one has come forward.  Three young adults, all from the Summerville area, were murdered. Sandy Geddis Barnwell was one of them. Her family believes for Sandy, this was a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Regardless, their world has been turned upside down and Sandy's killer remains on the loose.

"Our kids ought to be able to go to the beach and come home to us," said Sandy's aunt, Melody Geddis McFadden. "There is no excuse for senseless gun violence that should prevent them from coming home."

Sandy's bedroom sits virtually untouched and photographs fill the walls of her home.

And while Sandy is no longer there physically, she is there in spirit. McFadden, who had a key role in raising her, said the 22-year-old was too full of life and too worried about others to simply disappear.

"If you had a need and Sandy could do it for you, she'd put herself aside and do whatever she could to help you," McFadden said.

It was a last-minute decision to leave her Summerville home that Memorial Day weekend in 2014. Sandy's cousins wanted to see the parades at BikeFest. They had planned to make it a day trip Saturday and come back that night. They never made it.

Police say a fight in front of the Bermuda Sands Motel escalated and as Sandy and others began to scatter, bullets began to fly.

"I truly believe that she was running for her life and running in the crowd and a random bullet hit her," McFadden said.

Once the blaze of bullets died down, Sandy, 21-year-old Devonte Dantzler, also from Summerville, and 28-year-old Jamie Williams of nearby Ladson were all dead.

It was McFadden who received the devastating call. She knew she would have to explain to her sister Sabrina, Sandy's mother, that Sandy wouldn't be coming home, that she would have to bury another family member, another victim of violence.

Their mother died in a domestic violence tragedy, having been shot and killed by her live-in boyfriend.

"Our mother was shot in the forehead with a sawed-off shotgun and her daughter was shot in the forehead. So the tragedy is indeed a tragedy in that lightning struck twice," McFadden said.

It's been three years since that notorious night and police have learned from the events of that deadly weekend.

"I think we refocused our efforts on safety and crime, and we put measures into place that would overall make it a safe event and make the public a lot safer," said Myrtle Beach Police Det. Allen Amick. "We implemented our milestone camera system, our surveillance camera system, the barricades, and other various tactics and the additional law enforcement that comes in and just the way we police daily."

Still the fact is that though Amick said there are people of interest, no one has been arrested for those three murders.

McFadden's life has changed dramatically since that night. She now criss-crosses the Palmetto State, spreading a message of anti-violence.

"Our kids ought to be able to go to the beach and come home to us," she said. "There is no excuse for senseless gun violence that should prevent them from coming home."

Sandy's family members won't rest until someone pays the price for taking her life. And they hope you'll help in this fight. Anyone with information on this shooting should call police.

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