Murrells Inlet bait shop reopens one week after fire, owner’s murder

Murrells Inlet bait shop reopens one week after fire, owner’s murder

MURRELLS INLET, SC (WMBF) - At this time last week, the Georgetown County Sheriff's Office was investigating a fire at a bait shop along the Murrells Inlet Marshwalk, and the death of the shop's owner, Jessica Hill.

Police tape wrapped the perimeter of Perry's Bait and Tackle on Sept. 29. A memorial sat in front of the shop as people left teddy bears and flowers to pay their respects.

On Friday, the shrine moved indoors as customers saw pictures of Hill, the 37-year-old woman who deputies say was murdered by Eric Perry, a man whom she was reportedly in a relationship with for more than 10 years and had three children with.

A day after her funeral, doors at Perry's Bait and Tackle opened back up for business.

"It's been a long, trying week for everybody involved, family especially," said shop employee William Harrison. "The outpouring of positive emotion from the community is probably the best thing we have going right now."

While it was a goal of Hill's family to reopen so quickly, being back in business a week later took Harrison by surprise.

"It was very ambitious. We still have quite a bit of work to do, but everything is done enough to where we are completely functional," he said.

Local fisherman Garland Weaver was in the shop a week before the murder.

"Everything looked good," he said. "You couldn't tell what was going on or anything. It was just a bad situation with what happened. Somebody has to be real sick for something like that to happen."

Meanwhile, Harrison and crew are doing their best to move on.

"We're going to do everything we can to at least have the same atmosphere, vibe, just general feeling when you walk in that you're a friend, whether you've met anybody in here, brand new to the area or lived here your whole life," he said.

Other ways Harrison says the family has received support is through written notes and people just coming by to say hello. He encourages anyone to feel free to do so.

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