5-year-old South Carolina child orphaned after both parents murdered

COLUMBIA, S.C. — A 5-year-old child in South Carolina is now an orphan after the murder of the boy’s parents and his uncle is accused of killing them, authorities said.

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According to Richland County authorities, a man fatally shot his brother and the mother of his brother’s child, WACH-TV reported. Both victims were found dead in two different counties, the television station reported.

Ashli G. Haigler, 28, of West Columbia, was killed in a shooting that happened at about 5 a.m. Saturday, Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford said in a news release. Haigler was found in a vehicle, dead from a gunshot wound to her upper body, according to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department.

Her son was also found in the car, unharmed, crying for his mother, WDRW reported.

On the same day that Haigler’s body was found, deputies with the Aiken County Sheriff’s Office found the body of Rufus Carmichael, 48, in Batesburg, the television station reported.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott said both crimes led investigators to Charles Jason Carmichael, 41, WACH reported. When confronted by deputies at his home, Charles Carmichael attempted to flee, WRDW reported. A search of his car found a gun and evidence of blood, deputies said.

“He tries to escape us. We recovered a gun and a vehicle covered with blood,” Lott told reporters. “He’s charged with murder. Right now this is a lot of work we still have to do in this case. We have a 5-year-old who watched his mother get killed.”

Carmichael was charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime, according to Richland County online booking records. No bail has been set, The State of Columbia reported.

“It’s absolutely horrible. I feel sorry for the child. I pray for the child.” Steven Brewer, who lives near the site where Haigler was found, told WACH. “Hopefully this guy gets what’s coming to him.”