Son Didn’t Report Dead Bodies of Mother and Aunt for Years, Police Say


CLOVER, S.C. (CN2 NEWS)  The York County Coroner’s Office released new details in a triple death investigation from July.

On July 31st, detectives found three family members dead while accompanying DSS on a well-being check at a home on Griggs Road in Clover.  Detectives said they first found the body of Thomas Gardner, 45, but further investigation also led to the discovery of the bodies of two elderly women.

York County Coroner Sabrina Gast said Thomas Gardner died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in July of 2019, just days before authorities conducted the well-being check.  Gast says the two elderly women were his mother and aunt.

According to the Coroner’s report, Thomas Gardner’s mother, Susan Gardner, 74,  died in November 2015.  Gast was not able to determine her cause of death, but said Gardner had no traumatic injuries.  Gast says Thomas Gardner’s aunt, Ruth Allred, died six months later from natural causes.

Authorities say they believe Thomas Gardner wrapped the bodies of his mother and his aunt and left them in a room of the home until their discovery almost four years later.  Detectives say Thomas Gardner did not live in the house on Griggs Road, but maintained the grounds.

Deputies say in a note left behind by Thomas Gardner, he says he did not report the death out of fear he would be blamed.  However detectives believe Gardner failed to report the deaths so he could continue to get their money from government benefits.

The York County Sheriff’s Office says the case is closed and no charges will be filed.