Mom of toddler killed in Hartsville shooting faces murder charge

April Dixon (Source: Darlington County Detention Center)
April Dixon (Source: Darlington County Detention Center)
Timothy Oneil Sanders (Source: Darlington County Detention Center)
Timothy Oneil Sanders (Source: Darlington County Detention Center)
The scene of the shooting Monday night (Source: RNN Reporter Jody Barr)
The scene of the shooting Monday night (Source: RNN Reporter Jody Barr)

HARTSVILLE, SC (WMBF/WIS) - The man and a woman arrested after the fatal shooting of a 21-month-old girl in Hartsville are facing new charges.

Timothy Oneil Sanders, 40, and 23-year-old April Dixon, both of Hartsville, were arrested on Tuesday, Dec. 3 according to a news release from the Hartsville Police Department.

Sanders was charged with murder and the use of a weapon during the commission of a violent crime. Dixon was charged with misprision of a felony and accessory after the fact.

On December 18, Dixon was also charged murder. The SLED arrest warrant states that with malice aforethought, Dixon and Sanders murdered the victim. The probable cause is based on investigation, witness statements, and evidence at the scene.

Also on December 18, Dixon and Sanders were both charged with conspiracy to commit murder, according to SLED arrest warrants. The warrants state that Dixon and Sanders conspired to murder the victim, and that probable cause for the charges is based on the investigation and evidence recovered from the scene.

Sanders and Dixon were initially arrested on the night of the shooting on narcotics charges, officials stated.

Sanders' DNA has been tested to determine if he is the toddler's father. He is also facing a conspiracy charge in addition to the murder charge. Both are being held at the Darlington County Detention Center.

The two appeared before a judge for their drug charges and bond was set at $65,000 for each of them. Bond was denied on the murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime charges for Sanders, and the accessory to a felony charge for Dixon.

The shooting happened on Bell Avenue in Hartsville around 6 p.m. Investigators rushed to the home after the child's mother called 911 to report the incident. Hartsville Police Chief James Hudson says the woman was hysterical when officers arrived.

Medics rushed the child to the hospital where the coroner pronounced the toddler dead.

Darlington County Coroner Todd Hardee identified the child as Madison Dolford. Hardee said she died from a single gunshot wound. The coroner has ruled the death a homicide.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division arrest warrant for Sanders accuses him of shooting 21-month-old Madison Dolford in the upper body with a handgun. Probable cause for the murder charge is based on the investigation, witness statements, and evidence recovered at the scene.

The SLED warrant for Dixon's arrest accuses her of assisting Sanders by intentionally misleading law enforcement about the person who shot Dolford, and by concealing her knowledge upon direct questioning.

SLED agents, Hartsville Police officers and Darlington County deputies Monday night combed the area looking for the person responsible for the killing. Hours later, they tracked a person of interest down and took him into custody.

"Right now we have the person in custody that we believed committed this heinous crime," said Hudson that night. "And we're gonna continue to work and follow up more leads to make sure that this case is handed to the solicitor's office for prosecution."

After hours inside a Hartsville Police Department interrogation room, the man was delivered to the Darlington County Detention Center around 1 a.m. and booked.

Hours after the shooting, Hartsville Mayor Mel Pennington tweeted, "We have a responsibility to protect our citizens and our city. We must deploy stronger measures in high crime areas -- immediately. Our hearts are heavy tonight as a city mourns a senseless act of violence, ending the life of an innocent little angel."

At one point overnight, State Senator Gerald Malloy was at the scene of the crime, according to RNN reporter Jody Barr. Malloy later told Barr that he was the "pizza delivery guy," bringing pizza and water to the officers at the scene.

The Hartsville Police Department investigated the case in cooperation with the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, Darlington County Sheriff's Office, Darlington County Coroner's Office and Darlington County Solicitor's Office.

Copyright 2013 WMBF News. All rights reserved. WIS contributed to this report.