John Henry Mayers of Chapin, South Carolina, was first reported as a missing person by his family on May 11, 2011. A three-week search for Mayers was conducted through joint investigation by the Newberry County Sheriff’s Office and Lexington County Sheriff’s Office. Mayers’ long-time paramour, Mandy Smith, and a friend of Smith’s, Timothy Carroll Wise, became persons of interest through the investigation and were questioned.
Mandy Smith fled the area for several days between May 20-25, 2011, and was ultimately tracked down by law enforcement at her mother’s house in the Greenville area. Wise voluntarily took Newberry County investigators to Mr. Mayers’ body on May 25, 2011 deep in the Sumter National Forest, close to the gravel turnaround at Judy B Road in the Whitmire area.
An autopsy revealed that Mayers was killed by two gun shot wounds to the chest. Wise gave a statement to investigators implicating Mandy Smith as the shooter. Smith initially confessed to shooting Mayers, claiming that she did so to protect herself, and corroborated that Wise was present at the scene during the shooting. Sometime later Smith recanted her confession, claiming that Wise committed the shooting and that she did not have any foreknowledge of Wise’s plan to kill Mayers.
Both Smith and Wise admitted to going back to the scene of the crime on May 18, 2011 and removing the victim’s head, placing it in a five-gallon bucket, and throwing it into the Enoree River. Members of the Newberry County Water Rescue and Dive Squad were able to recover the dismembered remains from the river on May 26, 2011.
Solicitor David M. Stumbo and Deputy Solicitor Dale Scott argued the case for the State. Solicitor Stumbo said, “Sheriff Foster’s guys conducted a phenomenal investigation, with particular credit going to Captain Robert Dennis, Major Wesley Boland, and investigators from down in Lexington County who worked in conjunction with Newberry to solve this murder. It was a pleasure working as a team with this fine group of public servants to secure a conviction in such a horrific case. Hopefully we were able to obtain some measure of justice and closure for Mr. Mayers’ family.”