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Crime News

South Carolina Grandma's Body Found In Goodwill Clothing Bin, Police Probe ‘Suspicious’ Death

The cause or manner of 47-year-old Lesley Lemoine’s death hasn’t yet been released by Kershaw County officials.

By Dorian Geiger
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Authorities are investigating the “suspicious” death of a South Carolina woman whose body was found in a rusty clothing donation bin on New Year’s Eve.

On Wednesday, officials confirmed that a corpse that had been discovered in a Lugoff clothing donation bin on Dec. 31 was identified as missing 47-year-old Lesley Lemoine. A passerby made the gruesome discovery after observing a foul odor emanating from the donation bin, South Carolina television station WLTX reported. Lemoine had been missing since the middle of March.

Lemoine’s remains were positively identified following a preliminary autopsy. Her family has been notified, officials said. Lemoine’s cause and manner of death, however, haven’t yet been released. Authorities are now strongly eying the possibility of foul play.

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“We do not have any updates on this incident at this time,” Kershaw County Sheriff Lee Boan told Oxygen.com in an emailed statement on Monday. “We are still investigating this as a 'suspicious death' and following up on all leads as they come in. The cause of death is still pending toxicology.” 

Boan noted that toxicology results could “take weeks or months.”

Kershaw county officials previously disclosed that Lemoine’s body had likely been decomposing in the donation bin "for months,” according to WLTX. The bin also contained VHS tapes and hadn’t been emptied in years, Kershaw County Coroner David West said, according to the Associated Press. Prior to identifying Lemoine, officials had speculated the deceased individual had been seeking refuge in the metal clothing bin.

"They told me VHS tapes were underneath her, so this had not been checked in a really long time," Lemoine’s 25-year-old daughter Hannah Gates told Charleston daily newspaper The Post and Courier. "It makes me mad."

Gates said she last saw her mother on March 29. She said Lemoine had been homeless for some time and was known to drift in and out of touch. The two weren’t on good terms, according to The Post and Courier report.

"I wish I was more uplifting. ... I wish I said 'I love you' and 'I'm here for you,'" Gates added. "I wish I could've told her she was more than what she was."

Family have since set up a GoFundMe to help cover Lemoine’s funeral costs. As of Monday afternoon, the campaign had raised more than $5,600.

No other information has been released by law enforcement.

“We will continue to offer our support and prayers to the family as we arrange a proper funeral/burial for Lesley,” Boan added.

Lemoine was described as a “funny, charismatic, free spirit that loved Jesus and having a good time,” according to her obituary. The South Carolina mother and grandmother attended Lugoff-Elgin High School. She later graduated from Midlands Tech with medical billing and coding certification. Loved ones said Lemoine had struggled with addiction for decades prior to her death.

“She was a friendly soul, who would give you the shoes off her feet if you needed them, but she had her demons, too,” Lemoine’s obituary stated. “She is finally free from her disease and home with Jesus.”

Anyone with additional information regarding Lemoine’s death is urged to contact the Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office at 803-425-1512 or 803-424-4000. Tips can also be submitted by emailing investigations@kershaw.sc.gov.