YORK COUNTY, S.C. - A Clover man who authorities said committed suicide this summer left a note indicating that he had left the bodies of his mother and aunt in a York County home for about four years.
According to the York County Coroner's Office, on July 31, 2019, they responded to a home on Griggs Road in Clover to investigate three bodies that were found at the location during a well-being check from authorities.
Upon entering the home, the first body found was identified as Thomas Gardner Jr., 44. Authorities said Gardner died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
He left a note indicating that two other bodies were in the home, his aunt, Ruth Olivia Allred, who was born in 1941, and his mother, Susan Gardner, who was born in 1950. Allred and Gardner were located in a bedroom of the home, authorities said.
In the letter left by Mr. Gardner, he indicated that Ms. Gardner had died in November of 2015 and Ms. Allred had died approximately six months later. The condition of the remains were consistent with the time frame given by Mr. Gardner, the York County Coroner said.
"He indicated that he was afraid that he would be blamed for their deaths and that is why he did not contact authorities," the York County Coroner's Office said.
All three bodies underwent autopsy and toxicology testing. Thomas Gardner Jr. died as a result of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His manner of death is suicide. Ruth Allred's cause of death is probable atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Her cause of death is natural, the Coroner's Office said. Susan Gardner's cause of death is undetermined. No traumatic injuries were identified, authorities said.