The People of Georgetown

Jun. 5, 2022

Harry “Bubba” Woodruff III

In light of Brittanee Drexel being found, it reminded us about Georgetown’s own missing children. Crystal Gail Soles is one (17 years and counting) and Harry “Bubba” Woodruff III (2 years now), is yet another. We, as a collective town, want them found and brought home to their families.

I reached out to Harry’s family and spoke with them about his missing person case. His father, Butch, lives in North Carolina now and he tells me they are still actively looking for him. “Until someone gives us concrete proof of where he is, I will always keep looking for my son.”

I stopped in at Beanz Coffee Shop on Church street to talk to Harry’s sister, Kassandra Bourne. We agreed to meet at a new restaurant on Front Street, The Low Country Cantina, and talk about her brother.

While we enjoyed (a very delicious) lunch together, we talked about, Bubba, as he’s known around friends and family. Kassanda shared with me that he’s been missing since February 2020. “He just walked away and no one in Georgetown has seen him since.”

Where was he last seen?” I asked.

Out by 6-Mile Crossing,” Kassandra answered. “A couple people said they saw him and he was walking down the street then he was gone.”

Do you think he’s just gone off somewhere and doesn’t want to be found, or does the family think you’re looking for remains?”

He’s just missing,” she answered. “Someone claims to have seen him in North Carolina about six months after he left, so he could still be out there, but at this point, we’re not completely sure that he’s even still alive.”

I thought about the North Carolina comment and asked, “Why would anyone see him in North Carolina? Does he have family there besides your dad?”

Oh yes,” Kassandra answered. “That’s where we’re from; North Carolina. He knows lots of people up there – family and friends, so if someone saw him, they would know it’s him. That’s why we’re not sure what’s going on.

Georgetown County (Sheriff’s Office) does not communicate with law enforcement up there, nor do they talk to people down here. We have a missing person and it’s like no one cares.”

She rated a good point, so I called the sheriff’s office and spoke to Jason Thacker, then to Heather Pelgram, and later Sheriff Carter Weaver called me. Even though Jason and Heather were adamant this is an on-going investigation and assured me no one was being ignored, I still insisted on speaking to the big guy himself, the sheriff.

I explained what we were doing and Sheriff Weaver stated firmly, “This is an active and open investigation. We have not stopped looking for Harry Woodruff, in fact, we’re still looking for all of our missing people.”

He later sent me an email in reference to his comment: On 10/26/2020 a missing person report was filed with the Georgetown County Sheriff’s Office (8 months after he disappeared), by Harry Woodruff II, for his son. During the initial investigation it was determined that Harry Woodruff III (26 y/0) was last seen on 2/1/2020, leaving a residence on Georgetown Highway after an argument with family members.

Harry Woodruff III was known to have ties to the Supply, NC and Wilmington, NC areas. Through additional investigation other family members have reported to Law Enforcement as to having received information of sightings of him in the Supply, NC area. Georgetown County Investigators have coordinated with local North Carolina agencies, but have been unable to confirm the sightings. This case remains active.

Harry Woodruff III has been entered into NCIC as a Missing Person as well as the National Data Base for Missing Persons. Missing Person flyers have been disseminated to media outlets as well as law enforcement groups.

Scott Harper and I agree, it doesn’t matter who is missing… may it be Harry or another. They still belong to someone and should be found. Every person is important and are missed by their families.

Having said that: if anyone in NC or SC has any information that could lead investigators to the person(s) responsible for Harry’s disappearance, or even his remains, please call one of the following numbers. The family has not given up!

Crime Stoppers (SC): 864-467-5357

24 Hour Tip Line: 910-343-11 31 or910-232-1687

May. 21, 2022

Crystal Gail Soles

Crystal Gail Soles has been missing since January 24, 2005. She was last seen in Andrews, SC – Georgetown County. It’s time to bring her home. Her family and friends are waiting.

If you have any information that could lead to her recovery or person(s) responsible for her being missing, please call crime stoppers.

Crime Stoppers (SC): 864-467-5357

24 Hour Tip Line: 910-343-1131 or910-232-1687

Help find Crystal!

Jan. 29, 2022

I made my way to Pawley’s Island – Applewood House of Pancakes, to be exact. I grabbed myself a bowl of grits and headed to the second floor to speak with Angela and Amber at the newly arrived law offices of Lane and Ward.

Both had worked at (John) Hilliard Law Firm here in Georgetown until John’s passing July of 2021. Now, these amazing ladies have taken steps to move forward. Of course, the questions on everyone’s mind is 1) Why change locations? and 2) Why start a new law firm?

The answer applies to both questions. Together, at the same time, Amber and Angela answered, “new beginnings.”

Amber expanded her explanation saying, “We wanted to start out new: a new office and a new name and begin building our own reputations as lawyers.”

Nodding in agreement, Angela added, “We just wanted a fresh start.”

We spoke a little of John and his offices. To Amber, he was not just a mentor to her, he was also her friend, one that she misses all the time.

“I’m grateful for everything John taught me while I was with him. He gave us opportunities, kindness, and was a very giving man. He gave a little piece of himself to everyone he met. I think John would be proud of us for stepping into the bullpen and grabbing the bull by the horns.”

“That’s true,” Angela said, picking up the reins. “I did not know him as long as Amber. I was hired shortly before his passing, but my encounters with him left me with the knowledge that John was a caring and giving person. I also agree that he would be pleased with our endeavors

How does the staff feel about the new offices and name?” I asked while taking notes.

Both ladies agreed they were very excited about it. One of them stated it was kind of an adventure – taking on all this newness.

I asked what kind of law they practiced and Angela stated she does criminal law, civil litigation, personal injury, and a little family court. Amber agreed and shared that she does a little of all, as well. “Angela’s focus is criminal and mine is family, but we really do handle all of it together whether it be personal injury, criminal, family, etc.”

“We’re just trying to build something great here,” Angela said of their law practice.

They seem to work well together and compliment one another in their work. Both ladies did say they enjoy what they do. They love helping people with their legal woes and try to make themselves readily available for anyone seeking legal advice.

I didn’t want to take up too much of their time, so I ended the interview here. I do wish both Amber and Angela a great success that outshines even their own expectations. Thank you both for sharing with me.

Oct. 10, 2021

I had lunch with Carol Jayroe. We went to Deborah’s Kitchen over on South Island Road. Lord, that fried chicken is so good. It makes Colonel Sanders turn over in his grave. We had a good time, too. For those that do not know, Carol is running for mayor, as well she should be. I’ve wanted her to run for years and in doing so, she would be our first woman mayor (#firstladymayor).

We talked for a long while about different things… kids, neighborhood, old mutual friends, and so forth. Her husband Edwin would often stop at my father-in-law’s Maryville Shell Station on the way home from work. Indeed, many of the men did.

Carol grew up in Maryville Pines and has lived there her whole life. “I lived next door to my mama,” she said with a laugh. “I grew up, got married, and moved next door.”

There are a lot of us that remember her from when she was a banker and then later owning her own real estate business. She still does real estate but she’s since sold her company. In fact, a lot of the diners in Deborah’s knew her and greeted her warmly.

Deborah came over and talked with us for about 15 minutes, as well. Apparently, Carol and some of the other candidates are having a perliu dinner on the 19th at the Maryville Society Hall. It is in support of the Maryville Neighborhood Watch groups.

I love the Facebook page that’s up for Maryville warning people about what’s going on around their neighborhoods.” I know what she’s talking about… I’m on that page too.

Although we did speak about her mayoral run, we spent most of our time just visiting and eating fried chicken. She’s very excited about the prospect of becoming the mayor. She wants to see our humble little abode thrive and excel instead of the financial dire straights we’re facing now and I agree.

Meanwhile, thank you for lunch, Carol – we’ll have to do it again soon. Until then, I’ll wait and just see you at the Maryville Social dinner.

Sep. 19, 2021

Savannah & Zach Lewis

While visiting an old friend of mine, Eleanor Lewis,we started talking about the accident at the Pennyroyal Hunting Club where two of her great-grandchildren were involved (Savannah & Zach Lewis, II). She told me an amazing story. It was so amazing that I thought about it for several days before deciding to contact the children’s dad, Zach Lewis (Sr.).

I repeated the story to him as it was told to me. “It’s true,” he said. “That’s what happened.”

So what happened you ask?

After the accident occurred and everyone (but the driver) had been thrown from the vehicle in the accident that occurred at the Pennyroyal Hunting Club, Savannah 13, found her brother Zach 12, unconscious. She began CPR on him, virtually saving her little brother’s life.

First, we moved the roof (of the vehicle) off of Zach’s head and then I noticed he wasn’t breathing right,” Savannah said of the incident.

“How did you know how to do CPR?” I asked, fascinated.

Savannah looked at her dad and answered, “My dad. I was a wreck that night, too.”

For the record, Zach Sr. is a trained EMT. He’s been doing it for so long that I can’t even remember how long he’s been doing it.

What I found amazing was, as long as I’ve been in the medical profession, I’ve known people (in the medical profession) who do not know how to do CPR and yet, this 13 year-old young lady was able to revive her brother using it. Truly amazing!

“I don’t remember anything,” Zach said of the accident. “I remember vague things that happened during the day… like a picture we took, or something like that.”

Zach Sr. explained that Little Zach had a severe concussion. “The doctors say that it will take him a long while to recover and will likely never remember the accident at all.”

“Your dad taught you?” I asked, leading back to the incident.

Yes, we learned from him how to do it. I guess, I just grew up with it and even though I wasn’t too sure what to do, it just kind of kicked in and I did it.” Savannah went on to clarify, “I didn’t do mouth-to-mouth, though, I only did chest compressions. I was sore too by the time we got to the hospital. My back, legs, and arms ached so bad.”

Zach still says, “I don’t remember any of it, but the doctor said I was a walking miracle.

I sort of smiled to myself. Indeed, he is.

Curiously, I asked, “Has it changed your relationship with each other? I ask because something as traumatic as this often changes people.”

“I think it’s brought us closer together,” Savannah answered.

Zach nodded and then added, “We are closer now, and we talk more than we did before.”

Dad included, “It brought them closer to the church, too… especially Zach.”

A thought occurred to me. “Did you have a life or death experience? Did you see anything like angels or something?”

“No. I don’t remember anything,” Zach said, shaking his head.

(Poor child. How many times does he have to tell me before I get it?) At this point, we were all kind of snickering. I was going to have to make an effort to word my questions carefully so as not to force him to repeat himself again.

“What about your future goals? Has that changed any?” I asked of Savannah, first.

"Well, I wanted to be a doctor before all this, but after everything that’s happened, and everything that I saw, I just don’t think I want to do that now.”

Her dad and I tried to explain to her that this was a very emotional event that involved herself, and likewise, her little brother. It’s a different situation when we grow up and care for different people, although I could see on her face, she wasn’t so sure about that and was really questioning our opinion.

“What about you, Zach? Did it change your goals?”

I don’t know,” he answered. “I can’t remember what I wanted to do before, as far as a career goes, but now, I want to be…,” he hesitated and turned to his dad. “What’s it called where you work on trucks and machines; the big ones?”

“A diesel mechanic,” Zack Sr. answered. To me, “Just to be clear, he wants to do that now when he gets older.”

As we were wrapping things up, I asked, “Is there anything either one of you want to say, or add?”

Not really,” Savannah answered, looking to her brother for confirmation. Zach shrugged, but she went on, We’re just glad to be able to talk about it. I was such a wreck afterwards (Zach: I don’t remember anything that happened). Everyone was losing it at the site of the accident and I felt like I had to stay calm. And then at the hospital… It was just hard to do.”

Well, kudos to Little Zach for staying strong before, during, and after his recovery. It’s not an easy feat.

A special nod to Savannah Lewis, who in the midst of tragedy, held it together and stabilized, not just the situation, but her brother as well. She is certainly the heroine of Georgetown for years to come.

While everyone is thankful and amazed at Savannah’s life-saving actions, thoughts and prayers continue for the family of 13-year-old Claire Walker who was tragically killed in the accident. Please continue to uplift this family in prayer.