Arrest made in connection to Hollywood woman's disappearance

CHARLESTON COUNTY, S.C. (WCIV) -- U.S. Marshals arrested a man and transported him back to Charleston County earlier this week in connection to the disappearance of an elderly Hollywood woman.

Charleston County deputies on Wednesday identified 53-year-old Jerry Lee Manigualt as a suspect in Julia Mudgett's disappearance. He was also a person of interest in the death of an elderly Bluffton woman who was found dead in her home. Bluffton Police and Charleston County deputies both said there is a link between the two cases, but they have not said what yet.

Police ruled 70-year-old Polly Ann Mitchell's death a homicide on Wednesday, two days after her body was found. Mudgett's car was near Mitchell's home shortly before she was killed, Bluffton police said.{}

Her home was near the boat landing where 77-year-old Mudgett's car was found. Mudgett was last seen more than a week ago at her Hollywood home.

Friends stopped by her home after she failed to show up at a Bible study and found that a window had been broken and Mudgett was gone along with her car.

Her friends said Mudgett depended on her supply of oxygen tanks to live, but those had been left behind in the home along with her three dogs.

Since finding Mudgett's car, deputies said they believed foul play was involved in the woman's disappearance.

Manigualt is being held at the Al Cannon Detention Center on unrelated charges that he failed to re-register as a sex offender. His bond was set at $2,105.

Vigil held for missing woman on day suspect named

Dozens of friends and family convenedat aa West Ashley church Wednesday night to pray for the safe return of their friend, 77-year-old Julia Mudgett.

Many wiped away tears through the prayers.

"She's the kind of person that would always great you with a smile, no matter how she felt, what her condition or situation was, she truly was that sincere, genuine caring loving person," said one person.

Those who knew Mudgett for many years talked about the moment they first learned of her disappearance.

"I was very disturbed because I knew she had been burglarized before, and I knew the area she lived in was kind of dangerous and we were trying to get her to move," said Ana Meyer, one of Mudgett's many church friends.

But Meyer said the vigil brought her a sense of peace.

"If there was something that had happened to her that, we might thing that it was horrific that she was not going to feel that pain anymore," shesaidd.

Representatives of the West Ashley ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints say the vigil is just one of several activities planned to honor Mudgett.

"We stand by to help the sheriff's department in any way. If they need a search party organized, we can do that for them. And then finally we're going to do service at Lowcountry Orphan Relief on Saturday," said James Freston.

Freston says he is in constant contact with Mudgett's family out of state and keeps them updated on any developments.

"They're doing as well as can be expected, but they've got another significant tragedy in their family right now, too. So, it's a hard time for them and they're in our prayers as well," he said.