Still no new leads after Thursday search for woman in homicide case

Photo from the scene of the search provided by The CHART Group.

By Natalie

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCIV) -- Among 100 acres of thick brush and woods and about 150 volunteers combed the area off of Highway 61 in West Ashley in hopes of finding a woman who disappeared more than a month ago.

Marjorie Gayle McCaffrey was reported missing by her husband on March 18. Reports show he told investigators he and his wife had gotten into an argument the day before, after which he says he took a drive to the Upstate.

Wednesday, Charleston County Sheriff Al Cannon said Robert McCaffrey's trip to the Upstate was to see a woman he was romantically interested in, who is cooperating with investigators. He said investigators are sure Robert was in the Greenville County area, where he got a ticket for speeding.

Officials say Robert McCaffrey told them he returned to his Limestone Boulevard home the next morning, on the 18th, to find his wife was gone. He reportedly told investigators Gayle left behind a note, her keys and her wedding ring.

The sheriff has since shared that investigators believe the note was bogus, and they have reason to believe Robert McCaffrey was back in Charleston County before the 6 a.m. claim.

Cell phone activity led investigators to search the area near the Limestone Blvd. home Thursday off of Highway 61, according to Sheriff Cannon.

Major Jim Brady With the Charleston County Sheriff's Office said Thursday during a press briefing that about a dozen agencies were involved in the ground, air, and water search, including staff members at The Citadel where Gayle McCaffrey worked as the director of facilities for seven years.

The Citadel's Media Relations Coordinator, Charlene Gunnells said about 50 staff members, many who worked with Gayle, assisted Thursday at the request of the sheriff's office.

Lowcountry Search Dogs and several Lowcountry fire and rescue personnel also assisted in the search. Thursday afternoon, investigators say they had found nothing.

"To this point we have not located any additional evidence in support of the case which in and of itself is not necessarily indicative of the case," Maj. Brady said.

Chris Lizzi, who is representing Robert McCaffrey, says investigators never really treated Gayle's disappearance as a missing person's case.

"I think my client has felt like the police have used this as a pressuring tool, and they've been conducting this as a criminal investigation from day one," Lizzi said.

Sheriff Cannon said Wednesday that Robert McCaffrey was not cooperating with investigators. Lizzi argues against that and says his client wants investigators to find his wife.

"We've tried to cooperate throughout this. We came down and gave DNA swabs. We volunteered and informed them they should take it from the children also, and exercised consent forms. That was our idea," Lizzi said.

Lizzi says his client was interviewed by investigators for about five hours the night he reported his wife missing. Lizzi claims he asked the sheriff to provide them with a transcript from the interview with investigators before moving forward with any further interviews or interrogations.

"We asked for a copy, for a transcript, of that interview, so we could look at it and see if there was anything he missed or anything helpful to the police. They declined repeatedly to provide that, and we don't feel it'd be fair for him to be re-questioned the same questions, especially when he was tired at the time," Lizzi said.

Sheriff Cannon said Wednesday he didn't have enough evidence to arrest Robert McCaffrey. Though investigators say Thursday's search provided no further evidence, Major Brady says they will continue to follow leads in the ongoing investigation.

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