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Body found in grave is missing S.C. constable

This photo made available by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows State constable Robert Lee Bailey, 67.
This photo made available by the Charleston County Sheriff's Office shows State constable Robert Lee Bailey, 67.Charleston County Sheriffs Offic
/ Source: The Associated Press

A body found in a shallow grave over the weekend is that of a volunteer constable who disappeared a week ago, officials said Monday. He had been shot several times.

Robert Lee Bailey, 67, died instantly after being shot, said Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten, who declined to say how many times he had been hit.

Bailey was last seen May 14 making a traffic stop in Lincolnville, 50 miles from where the grave was found near Interstate 26. Five people have been taken into custody since he vanished, and officials say they transported his body in two different cars that were later found burned.

The grave was found Saturday after searchers returned to rural Orangeburg County using information from a woman charged in the case, who also is the girlfriend of another suspect, authorities said.

According to arrest affidavits, Bailey had just cleared a traffic stop and was on a street where two suspects lived when several shots sounded and radio contact was lost.

Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said the shootings apparently occurred during a second traffic stop. When help arrived, Bailey was gone. His constable's cap, two pistols, several shell casings and a pool of his blood were found in the street and the yard of a small home on the street. His cruiser was found later about five miles away, burned.

Asia Prioleau, 22, has been charged with murder, and her boyfriend, 24-year-old Walter Fayall III, who is in jail on an unrelated charge, will also be charged with murder, the sheriff said. Cannon said the two were in a car at the second stop.

Three other people have been arrested in the case.

Cannon said after the shooting, the constable's body was stuffed into the back of a Chevrolet Caprice found burned Friday about 30 miles up the interstate.

Cannon said the body is believed to have then been transferred to another car and taken to where Bailey was buried. That second car was found burned in Williamsburg County last week, he said.

Bailey was a retired Dorchester County deputy who had been a constable with Lincolnville for about five years. He was one of about 80 group three advanced constables in the state out of more than 2,000 South Carolina constables.