Investigators draw connections between suspect, missing woman

HOLLYWOOD, S.C. (WCIV) Investigators in the case of a missing Hollywood woman say the man arrested in connection to her disappearance at one time lived less than a mile away from her. They added the two had crossed paths before, too.

Charleston County Sheriff's deputies are still searching the southern parts of the county for 77-year-old Julia Mudgett.

Mudgett was reported missing by friends after they found her trailer door broken in and blood inside. Major Eric Watson says they do suspect foul play, but this is still a missing persons investigation.

"We have some techniques that were used in homicide investigations that were also implemented in this case as well," said Watson.

On Monday, Mudgett's car was recovered from Tuten's Landing in Jasper County. That same day U.S. Marshals and deputies arrested a suspect, Jerry Lee Manigault of Hollywood.

Manigault was charged with failing to re-register as a sex offender, a charge unrelated to Mudgett's disappearance, but deputies believe he is connected somehow.

"You're required within three days to notify us or authorities in Beaufort County that you relocated, which he failed to do, that prompted the arrest warrant," says Watson.

Watson says Manigault was listed as living in Hollywood. Deputies discovered he instead was staying in Beaufort County.

He says they're investigating how well Manigault knew Mudgett.

Manigault is also considered a person of interest in a homicide investigation in Bluffton. Bluffton police say he is not cooperating with their investigation.

Officers are interviewing others to try and determine where he was the day of the murder.