HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – The woman charged in connection with the death of a Horry County man who was reported missing last month was the mother of his four children, according to the victim’s brother.
Online records from the J. Reuben Long Detention Center state 37-year-old Chris Allen Dontell and 35-year-old Meagan Marie Jackson were both booked Wednesday and charged with murder in the death of Gregory Vincent Rice.
Dontell had served as a deputy coroner for Horry County.
Authorities said Rice was reported missing on Oct. 5, 2020. At that time, he was believed to have been heard from last on Oct. 2, 2020. In the following days, multiple bloodhound searches were conducted and search warrants served in an effort to locate Rice.
In the early morning hours of Nov. 8, a body was discovered that was determined to be that of Rice, authorities said.
Both Dontell and Jackson were identified as suspects in the disappearance and murder of Rice.
Steve Rice, Gregory Rice’s brother, said the victim moved to the Grand Strand with Jackson in 2013. The couple had four children together, he added.
The victim’s brother said Gregory Rice also had one child with an ex-wife. Steve Rice said he didn’t learn about Dontell until after his brother’s disappearance.
According to Dontell’s Linkedin profile, he joined the Horry County Coroner’s Office in July 2018.
The Horry County Coroner’s Office released the following statement:
"On or about October 5 my Chief Deputy, Tamara Willard, was briefed on the disappearance of Greg Rice by HCPD and informed that Deputy Coroner Chris Dontell would be questioned with regard to the investigation. Permission was given to examine Chris Dontell’s county phone and vehicle at that time.
On October 23 Chris Dontell was informed by HCPD that he was officially under investigation in this disappearance at which point he was suspended immediately from Horry County Coroner’s Office (through verbal interaction), denied access to all county property and promptly removed from the call schedule.
On Monday November 9 Mr. Dontell was terminated from Horry County Coroner’s Office, due to the nature of this ongoing investigation nothing further will be released from this office. Please direct all questions to HCPD.
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