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Monday, December 23, 2013

LEXINGTON COUNTY, SC - Lexington County Sheriff’s Department and Lexington County Coroner’s Office investigators have recovered the body of a 22-year-old West Columbia man who was killed in December 2011. The man was reported missing to the Sheriff’s Department on December 25, 2011.

Lexington County Sheriff James R. Metts said DNA analysis that was conducted by the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) enabled Lexington County Coroner Harry O. Harman on Friday, December 20 to positively identify the body as the remains of Michael Jody George, 22, of 4029 Edmund Highway, West Columbia.

Detectives received information that George’s body had been buried in a hole that was dug in woods near a home on Busbee Road near Gaston, Metts said. George was last seen alive at the Busbee Road home.

Investigators with the Sheriff’s Department and Coroner’s Office on Monday, December 16 recovered George’s body in the hole in the woods near the Busbee Road home, Metts said.

Harman ordered an autopsy to be performed on Tuesday, December 17 on George’s body in order to try to determine the cause and manner of George’s death as well as to positively identify the body as George’s body. The cause and manner of George’s death remain under investigation.

DNA analysis that SLED performed enabled Harman to positively identify the body as George’s body, Metts said. Detectives previously recovered evidence at the Busbee Road home that contained blood and DNA that forensic tests show came from George’s body. The blood and DNA evidence previously was provided to SLED for analysis.

In 2012 and 2013, detectives charged two men and one woman in connection with George’s death, Metts said. Detectives arrested Jamey Charles Mallette, 36, of Gaston, on February 15, 2013 on arrest warrants on charges of murder and kidnapping. Mallette was being without bond on Monday, December 23, 2013 at the Lexington County Detention Center.

Arrest warrants allege that between approximately 10 p.m. on December 23, 2011 and approximately 5:30 a.m. on December 24, 2011 Mallette unlawfully confined and kidnapped George from Shooter’s Bar at 3030 Charleston Highway near Cayce, Metts said.

Mallette was the second suspect whom detectives charged in connection with the kidnapping and murder of George, Metts said. Detectives on December 18, 2012 served William Thomas “Tommy” Embree, Jr., 35, with arrest warrants on charges of murder and kidnapping. Embree was being held on Monday at McCormick Correctional Institution, where Embree is serving a six-year prison sentence for assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature.

On February 28, 2013, detectives arrested Rachel Rae Fremion, 34, of 1869 Water Tank Road, Pelion, on charges that Fremion helped Mallette clean up Mallette’s home on Busbee Road between December 24, 2011 and December 28, 2011 in order to try to conceal evidence concerning the kidnapping and killing of George, Metts said. Detectives arrested Fremion on an arrest warrant on a charge of accessory after the fact to murder. Fremion was released from the county Detention Center on March 1, 2013 after Fremion posted a $50,000 bond.

An arrest warrant alleges that between December 24, 2011 and December 28, 2011 Fremion helped Mallette clean up Mallette’s home at 1218-D Busbee Road after Mallette and Embree kidnapped and killed George, Metts said. Witnesses provided statements that show Fremion worked on numerous occasions to clean up a “bloody mess” at Mallette’s home.

George’s brother, John Wannamaker, contacted the Sheriff’s Department at 2:37 p.m. on December 25, 2011 and reported that George was missing, Metts said. Wannamaker told deputies that he last spoke with his brother at 7:30 p.m. on December 23, 2011 at George’s home.

George’s father, Gary Frederick George, contacted the Sheriff’s Department at about 8:15 p.m. on December 25, 2011 and reported that he found Michael George’s 1994 black Nissan Sentra on Beckman Road between Cannaberry Drive and Lena Drive near West Columbia, Metts said. Deputies used a Sheriff’s Department helicopter and all-terrain vehicles in December 2011 to conduct ground and aerial searches in the area where Michael George’s car was found.

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