Judge denies bond for man accused of killing Dillon County elementary school principal

Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 9:06 AM EDT|Updated: Aug. 29, 2022 at 10:17 PM EDT
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DILLON COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) – A bond hearing took place Monday for the man accused of killing the principal of a Pee Dee elementary school.

Kyle Church has been charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in the death of 54-year-old Wendy Cook.

Dillon County Sheriff Douglas Pernell said deputies were called the night of August 20 to the 1800 block of Southwind Road in Dillon, where they found a woman dead inside a car.

Dillon County Coroner Donnie Grimsley later identified the victim as Cook, adding that she died of a gunshot wound. Pernell said that Cook was the principal of Stewart Heights Elementary School.

Arrest warrants also state Cook was shot in the chest at Church’s home. During the bond hearing, Assistant Solicitor Shipp Daniel revealed that home surveillance captured the entire incident.

Daniel said earlier that night on August 21, 2022, Cook went out to dinner with her son and his girlfriend.

He then said, Church arrived to the restaurant and at one point, he and Cook left together, where Daniel then said Church took Cook to his home.

Daniel said the surveillance video shows when they arrive arrived at Church’s home, he went inside, grabbed a gun, and fired multiple shots while Cook was inside the car.

Daniel said Cook died from a single gunshot wound to the chest. He then said Church called 9-1-1.

Daniel also described the demeanor of Church throughout the incident.

He said, “It is remarkably calm. It all looks very calculated; it looks quite honestly like an execution. We can assume from how it happened there was some kind of dispute, but the defendant takes his time.”

It was also revealed the Church and Cook had been in a relationship.

Cook’s sister Tara Gray addressed the court and Church himself.

“We had a wonderful relationship growing up, and I will never have a relationship with her ever again. Kyle took that from me. Kyle took that from all of us,” Grey said.

The judge denied bond for Church. He is being held at the Dillon County Detention Center.

WMBF News also learned Church was also named in a pending wrongful death lawsuit stemming from a deadly ATV crash in July 2020.