Chester County Detectives Identify Burned Woman Found In Ditch

CHESTER COUNTY, S.C. (CN2 NEWS) — The Chester County Sheriff’s Office identified the woman whose body was found burned in a ditch on Lizzie Melton Road last month as Melissa Whitis, 31, from Frankfurt Kentucky.

Sheriff Max Dorsey says right now they don’t believe Whitis had any ties to Chester County, but he says she did have a family in Kentucky.

“She has a mother and a father that are still alive, and she has children,” Dorsey said, “And so that’s what makes this even more tragic. She was someone that was cared for and she cared for other people.”

Whitis was so severely burned, identifying her body was challenging. Dorsey says investigators exhausted all traditional methods for identifying a body, including fingerprinting and DNA.  The last resort was to trace a medical device implanted in Whitis.

“They were able to trace that device to its manufacturer in Switzerland. It appears the device was manufactured sometime in 2012, and was shipped to various hospitals throughout the United States,” Dorsey said.

It took weeks, but eventually the device was traced back to Frankfurt, Kentucky. Dorsey says no missing persons reports were filed for Whitis in Kentucky, but she does have family there.

Detectives say Whitis was reportedly last seen on Sept. 17 near I-40 in Davie County, N.C.  It’s believed she was wearing a knee brace, yellow pants, a grey overcoat, and had her hair pulled back in a knit cap.

If you have any information regarding this case, you’re asked to call the Chester County Sheriff’s Office at 803-581-5131.