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Crime News Buried in the Backyard

South Carolina Grandmother Killed and Buried By Man "Preying On Older Women"

The search for a missing grandmother, a former bondswoman, leads investigators to three more victimized elderly women. 

By Joe Dziemianowicz

On May 16, 2022, Edna Suttles, 80, a beloved mom and member of a tight-knit South Carolina community, was found buried on a remote wooded property in North Carolina.  

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“She was in some stages of decomposition, but she was fairly intact,” Captain Jamie Keever, Rutherford County Sheriff’s Dept., told Buried in the Backyard, airing Saturdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.

A single working mother, Suttles raised three children in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. At age 80, she worked as a home care assistant. When she failed to show up for an appointment with a client, alarm bells rang.

The search for Edna Suttles

On August 28, 2021, a 911 call went out to report Suttles missing. Officers went to her home, where they found nothing amiss.

“There’s no signs of forced entry,” said Greg Walter, lead investigator for the Greenville County Sheriff’s Dept. “There’s nothing that looks out of the ordinary.”

Douglas Alexander, Suttles’ son, arrived at his mom’s home, where her dog was found inside. That raised suspicion, he said, because she would have asked him to look after the pet.

Had she had a car mishap? A missing persons report was filed. Officers canvassed Suttles’ neighborhood, and put out a BOLO on her Jeep.

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As investigators worked the case, they learned that Suttles was the first female bondsperson in South Carolina. Was that a factor in her disappearance?

“You have to consider what the life the bondsperson is like,” said Joseph Scott Morgan, a forensic expert. “Suttles was around a lot of dangerous characters.”

Investigators focused on her home phone records. When the phone reports came in they contained no promising leads.

Detectives caught a break in the case on September 3, 2021. Suttles’ Jeep was found in the parking lot of the Best Western Hotel.

“About 11:30 at night they came to get the keys,” said Alexander. “At that point we knew it wasn’t good.”

Investigators considered that Suttles may have met someone at the hotel and left in their vehicle. They requested surveillance footage from security cameras for possible clues.

The footage showed Suttles’ car come into the parking lot. “We were waiting to see Edna get out but it wasn't her,” said Walter. “Instead it was this unidentified white male. And it was obvious that Edna wasn't with him.”

Investigators observed the individual who exited her car wipe down the surfaces of the Jeep. That immediately raised a red flag. “The game has changed, and every second and every minute counts,” said Walter.

A photo of Edna Suttles, featured on Buried in the Backyard 505

Investigators viewed security footage inside the hotel in an effort to get a better image of the man to identify him but they found that he’d never gone inside.

They turned to security cameras at a nearby shopping center. Cameras at a Food Lion grocery store captured images of the man walking to a silver sedan.

Detectives scrutinized the tapes. They showed the man arrive at 9:30 a.m. Shortly after, Suttles’ Jeep pulled in. Suttles and the man waved at each other. He got in the passenger’s side of her car and they left.

Detectives asked Suttles’ family if they knew the man. They didn’t, but they acknowledged that Suttles used online dating services.

Daniel Printz emerges as a suspect

Investigators returned to the security tapes. Upon closer scrutiny, it appeared that the man may have physically moved Suttles from her car into his vehicle.

“Looking at this, there's definitely something wrong. That led us to believe that she may be incapacitated,” said Walter. “We were looking at a full on kidnapping.”

Reviewing security footage inside Food Lion, investigators saw that the unknown man swiped a card when he bought yogurt.

That turned out to be a huge break in the case. The man with Suttles was identified as Daniel Printz, who lived in North Carolina. At this point Rutherford County sheriffs and the FBI got involved in the case.

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Printz was taken into custody at his home in Bostic, North Carolina. Detectives combed through the residence and property in search of Suttles while Printz was questioned at Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office.

Investigators described Printz as arrogant, someone who liked to drive the conversation. He said he did odd jobs as a handyman for elderly women.

Printz claimed that Suttles had had a stomach bug and that he had to drive her car and leave it at the hotel. He claimed that he drove her home in his car.

Investigators weren’t convinced. As they dug deeper into Printz’s history they found an ominous fact. He was convicted of kidnapping in 1997 and released from prison in 2010.

Elderly women are connected to Daniel Printz

Asked about Suttles’ whereabouts, it was as if Printz was playing a game, according to investigators. When they searched his wallet they made a chilling discovery. He had credit cards and a debit card belonging to a woman named Nancy Rego.

He claimed he had power of attorney over her. But her family hadn’t seen her in years. “Nancy Rego had not been reported missing,” said Keever.

“Everybody working on this case was very concerned for Edna Suttles because Daniel Printz was still a very active violent criminal,” said Walter.

Detectives searched Printz’s home again. They found items belonging to an elderly woman named Leigh Goodman, who was also missing.

A mugshot of Daniel Printz, featured on Buried in the Backyard 505

Police also recovered a gun that Suttles’ family confirmed was hers. They determined that Printz had a number of profiles on internet dating sites.

“That gave us a concrete belief that Daniel Printz had something to do with Edna’s disappearance,’ said Keever, adding, “It became apparent that Printz was a serial killer preying on older women."

While Printz was jailed for stealing Suttles’ car, officials were reluctant to charge him with murder without more evidence and a body.

In October, Printz’s wife decided to sell their home. A large box was discovered on the property that contained Suttles’ social security card and keys, as well as a plastic bag and an empty yogurt cup.

The bag and yogurt cup were sent to the crime lab, where they determined that Suttles’ DNA was on the bag. Traces of painkillers were in the container. “Printz used that yogurt to poison Edna,” said Walter.

Daniel Printz is arrested for Suttles' murder

Printz was charged with Suttles’ murder. Prosecutors emphasized that this was a possible death penalty case as they pressed Printz to tell them what he’d done with Suttles and the other women, according to Buried in the Backyard.

Nine months after Suttles went missing, Printz revealed that her remains were buried in Rutherford County. On May 16, Suttles’ body was found buried in a shallow grave covered with branches and pine straw.

Edna Suttles' Career Raises Red Flags for Investigators

Law enforcement believed that by late August 2021, Printz had established an online friendship with Suttles. He went to Travelers Rest, laced her yogurt with a lethal mix of painkillers, and placed the bag over her face, they theorized.

On June 22, 2022, Printz pleaded guilty to kidnapping and murdering Edna Suttles. He also confessed to killing Leigh Goodman, 61, Nancy Rego, 66, and Nancy’s mother Dolores Sellers, 88. 

Printz is serving a life sentence without the chance of parole.

To learn more about the case, watch Buried in the Backyard, airing Saturdays at 8/7c on Oxygen.