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Crime: Murder victim was in county for funeral

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

Renee Milton stopped in the parking lot at Club Isis on Highway 17 Tuesday afternoon to light a candle near a small shrine to her 21-year-old son, Sean Edwards.

He was shot to death there early Saturday morning for no apparent reason, Milton said.

“He was out celebrating a cousin’s birthday,” she said. “Whoever shot him was a coward. He didn’t see who the shooter was.”

Pawleys Island police officer Jono Fairfield was the first officer on the scene, according to the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office. Deputy Sean Seebode’s report said Fairfield felt a faint pulse in the victim. He was face-up on the ground between a silver Dodge Durango and a trash container. He was unresponsive, and the deputy noted blood on the left side of his chest.

Seebode roped off the crime scene and dealt with crowd control. Midway Fire and Rescue personnel took Edwards to Waccamaw Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 3:31 a.m.

A preliminary autopsy from Coroner Kenny Johnson’s office said the cause of death was a gunshot wound.

Milton said her family came to Georgetown County from New Haven, Conn., Friday for the funeral of her aunt, Nervalee Ford of Plantersville, who had been more like a grandmother to her.

Now they are planning another funeral, this one for her son.

The body was shipped back to New Haven after an autopsy. Milton waited until Tuesday to get a death certificate and recover the cell phones that were removed from the family’s rental car at the crime scene.

“It’s a difficult time,” she said. “We do what we have to do.”

On Monday, she put a small vase of plastic flowers with a stuffed lion near the spot where Edwards died. The lion represented her son’s sign, Leo.

“He died 17 days after his birthday,” Milton said, “just turned 21. He wasn’t in South Carolina for 10 hours.”

She said her son was working as a high school custodian in New Haven with plans to move to Baltimore.

“I wasn’t comfortable about him going,” his mother said. “He wanted to be a state policeman or a fireman. He had plenty of dreams. Now his dreams can’t be fulfilled because of this tragedy.”

Milton’s theory was that the shooting was either a robbery or a case of mistaken identity. He was traveling in a large SUV with New York plates, but it was a rental.

“He was a good kid,” she said. “He was a well-liked kid, down to the principals and teachers. Everybody is so overwhelmed that this happened. That kid didn’t hurt nobody. If they knew him, they never would have shot him.”

The sheriff’s office is urging anyone with information to call 546-5101. Anonymous tips may be sent by text. Dial 274637 and text the word “GCSOTIP” followed by the message.

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