Husband suspected of homicide in Gayle McCaffrey's disappearance

Marjorie Gayle McCaffrey (provided)

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- The Charleston County Sheriff's Office held a press conference to release updates on the case of missing mom Marjorie Gayle McCaffrey Wednesday.

One major reason for the press conference was the announce the case had been upgraded from a missing person's case to a homicide investigation.

Another major reason for the press conference, officials say, was to share that the woman's husband, Robert McCaffrey has been named a suspect, though investigators say they don't yet have enough evidence to make an arrest.

There are now new searches planned to recover Gayle McCaffrey's body. A "significant search" is scheduled for Thursday at a piece of property on Highway 61 across from Drayton Hall -- it's an area a couple of miles from the McCaffrey home.

"He has retained counsel and has not talked with us any further," Sheriff Al Cannon said.

The sheriff said that there is nothing in evidence that points to anyone else, and that there has been no activity in Gayle's bank accounts. He said it has led investigators to believe a note allegedly left by Gayle McCaffrey the day she disappeared is "bogus."

Cannon said previous accounts from Robert McCaffrey were false. The sheriff said Robert McCaffrey told police he was in Easley when in fact the home belonging to Gayle McCaffrey's aunt wasn't part of the equation at all.

"He was in northern Greenville County and was not in Easley," Cannon said.

Cannon says that Robert McCaffrey was in northern Greenville to see a woman he was "interested in."

The woman Robert McCaffrey was trying to woo has been cooperating with investigators. Cannon confirmed that they have text messages between the two.

Cannon said he doesn't believe the feelings Robert McCaffrey had for the unidentified woman were returned and the sheriff's office does not believe she is in any danger.

Cannon also said that they have evidence that the 6 a.m. return time Robert McCaffrey provided to officers was false. They sheriff said Robert McCaffrey was back in town much earlier.

When asked about the McCaffrey children, Cannon said that they have no reason to believe that the children witnessed anything in regards to the disappearance of their mother.

Robert McCaffrey reported his wife missing March 18, 2012.{} He reportedly told deputies that he last saw his wife around 10 p.m. on Saint Patrick's Day. He said{}he left the residence to travel to Easley, S.C. Gayle has not been seen or heard from since. She{}is described as 5'2" and 155 pounds. She has reddish brown hair and brown eyes.

Following Wednesday's press conference, Gayle McCaffrey's sister, Debbie Pearson, issued the following statement:

"We just want to thank Al Cannon and his team for all the hard work they are putting into this case. They are working tirelessly to find Gayle. We would ask anyone wanting to help to continue to pray for the police. If anyone has information, please call Crime Stoppers."

Anyone who may have information in this case is asked to contact the Charleston County Sheriff's Office at 843-202-1700 or Crime Stoppers at 843-554-1111.