COLUMBIA - Twenty-five-year-old Shelton Sanders disappeared on June 19, 2001. "So Sumter County originally investigated it as a missing person," said Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott." "We gave them assistance."In April 2003, the 1988 Oldsmobile Regency Sanders was driving the night he vanished turned up in the parking lot at Greenbrier Apartments in Northeast Columbia."We feel that it had been abandoned from the time that he disappeared until we actually found it," said the sheriff.That gave the Richland County Sheriff's Office enough evidence to reopen the cold case."At that time we upgraded the investigation from just being a missing person to where we felt it was a homicide," said Sheriff Lott.On October 5, 2005, the Solicitor's Office was finally prepared to prosecute 30-year-old Mark Anthony Richardson. He was arrested, charged with murder and taken to the Richland County Jail. "Well, just from statements that Mr. Richardson has given us, some witnesses who heard gunshots, the fact that where we found the car, we can place Mr. Richardson with the car," said Sheriff Lott. "Mr. Richardson being the last person that was with Mr. Sanders when he was alive." The sheriff said cell phone records place Richardson in the parking lot where the care was left...exactly when it was taken there. Officials said they put all the evidence together and decided Richardson was their man."I guess one of the unique things about this case is that we haven't found Mr. Sander's body yet," said Sheriff Lott. "We know that he's dead and we know that Mr. Richardson is responsible. But we haven't recovered a body."For Sanders' family, that remains the hard part. "Cause we see the pain and suffering the family has been going through since their son disappeared, just not knowing," added the sheriff.
Man Charged with Murder in Cold Case