Attorney: No evidence in homicide case against Robert McCaffrey

Pictured above is Robert McCaffrey at a March child custody hearing. (WCIV)

By Natalie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Robert McCaffrey says the loss of his wife has been hard on him, according to his attorney.{}

During a press conference Wednesday, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said the investigation was shifting gears. Previously a "missing person's case," he announced Gayle McCaffrey's disappearance was now being investigated as a homicide. He also named Gayle's husband, Robert, as a suspect.

Christopher Lizzi, who is representing Robert McCaffrey, says investigators questioned his client after he reported her missing.

"We feel they always treated it as a homicide and never treated it as a missing person's case," Lizzi said.

Sheriff Cannon says after following leads, using technological tools, and digging into the McCaffrey's life, they decided she was no longer a missing person.

"We have learned a great deal about Gayle McCaffrey. There has been no activity in her banking accounts, credit card accounts. We feel we've identified all of those. She left her vehicle. More importantly, she left her children," he said.

Those children are now in the custody of Gayle's sister, Debbie Pearson, who issued a statement following the sheriff's announcement.

""We just want to thank Al Cannon and his team for all the hard work they are putting into this case," Pearson said in the statement. "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."

The children were taken into protective custody when the investigation began. After family court hearing, a judge granted custody to their aunt.

Robert McCaffrey reported his wife, who he's been married to for 14 years, missing on March 18th. Sheriff Cannon says the night Gayle went missing, Robert traveled to the Upstate to meet with a woman he was romantically interested in.

"He left the home and drove to Greenville County, the northern part of Greenville County, to meet with a female. I don't think what he hoped to accomplish with her, in terms of relationship and the kind of conversation he wanted to have with her," Sheriff Cannon said.

The woman, who investigators would not identify, is cooperating, according to Sheriff Cannon.

The sheriff says a letter, mentioned in the original incident report, which Robert told investigators his wife left behind, is not valid.

"Our investigation of the contents of that and what we've learned about both Bob McCaffrey and Gayle McCaffrey led us to believe the information in that note is bogus," he said.

Thursday, investigators are expected to search an area of private property off of Highway 61 in West Ashley. Sheriff Cannon says cell phone activity has led them to focus on the area.

Chris Lizzi, who says he spoke with the sheriff Wednesday, says Gayle's disappearance has taken a toll on his client.

"There is no evidence proving that (the sheriff's) claim," he said. "Robert would like nothing better than for them to find his wife."

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