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Sheriff: Missing 15-year-old Richland County girl murdered, suspect wanted

Sanaa Amenhotep was last seen leaving her northeast Columbia residence on April 5

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott says a missing 15-year-old girl has been found dead and officers believe she was murdered. He also announced they've arrested one suspect and are looking for another in the case. 

Lott said Thursday morning that Sanaa Amenhotep's body was discovered in Lexington County hours earlier. He said he broke the news to Amenhotep's family shortly after the discovery.

"Unfortunately we didn't bring her home the way we wish that we could," Lott said. 

She was found in a wooded area off Interstate 20 in the Batesburg-Leesville area. 

The 15-year-old girl was last seen leaving her north Columbia residence on April 5 and was reported missing by her mother.

According to Lott, Amenhotep likely left her home voluntarily with two male acquaintances, but things changed quickly, and that she was kidnapped by the pair.. Lott said investigators began having a bad feeling several days later when she could not be reached. 

Officers have arrested one juvenile and charged him with kidnapping, but they're looking for one suspect: Treveon Nelson. They also believe he was involved in the kidnapping.

"We need him, he needs to be held responsible for what he did," Lott said.

Credit: RCSD
Treveon Nelson

Most of the investigation led them to Lexington County, and Lott said further charges in this case would come from the Lexington County Sheriff's Department. 

Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said there is a preliminary cause of death, but they'll wait to release that until an autopsy is done at MUSC on Friday.

Members of the community had been spreading the word about her disappearance trying to raise awareness and help find her.