Three people are in custody in connection with the kidnapping, robbery and death of a Leland woman whose body was found in a wooded area in southwestern Columbus County on Wednesday.
Michael Williams, 31, of Whiteville, has been charged with murder, robbery with a dangerous weapon and first-degree kidnapping in the death of 26-year-old Alicia Marie Deans, a mother of two, who was last seen April 28.
Deputies found Deans’ body at about 3 p.m. Wednesday in a wooded area off John Coleman Road near Tabor City, Columbus County Sheriff Lewis Hatcher said.
Nathan Tyler Jr., 42, of Claredon, is in custody in Horry County, South Carolina, awaiting extradition to Columbus County, where he faces charges of murder, first-degree kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon.
Kayla Turner, 18, of Leland, has been charged with murder, first-degree kidnapping and robbery with a dangerous weapon.
“Information obtained by investigators shows that Deans came to Columbus County on or about April 28,” Hatcher said.
Authorities believe Deans was traveling to Whiteville to see Nathan Tyler III at about 1:30 p.m. April 28. Nathan Tyler III has not been charged in connection with Deans’ death, Hatcher said.
“Later that same evening, Deans was robbed of $34 by the three suspects, who then took her from Tyler’s residence to a wooded area in the 800 block of John Coleman Road, where she was murdered,” Hatcher said.
Deans was fatally shot, Hatcher said. Her vehicle, which the suspects reportedly burned, was recovered by deputies at Claredon Baptist Church.
“Alicia was known by a lot of people in our county,” Brunswick County Sheriff John Ingram said. “She was a mother of two small children. And we want the family and friends to know our thoughts and prayers are with them and her children.”
Williams and Turner, who are being held without bond at the Columbus County jail, are expected to appear in Columbus County District Court on Friday.
Check back for more on this developing story.
Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly identified who Deans was reportedly going to visit when she was reported missing.