Woman, 60, shot dead in Mt. Pleasant home, man charged with stealing her car
MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCIV) —
Police have charged a man with stealing the car of a Mount Pleasant woman who was found dead in her Old Village home, and authorities believe the suspect may have been with the victim around the time of her death.
Norman Browne, 44, was arrested by Mount Pleasant Police on Feb. 10, and charged with grand larceny of a motor vehicle. Browne has since been released from jail after posting $50,000 bail.
Mount Pleasant Police affidavits say Browne stole a Cadillac sedan belonging to Ann Witherspoon, 60, of Seminole Street in Mount Pleasant. Witherspoon was found dead of a gunshot wound in her home Feb. 9, the Charleston County Coroner's Office says.
Prior to the discovery of Witherspoon's death, Mount Pleasant Police say a friend had reported Witherspoon missing Feb. 9 after not hearing from her in several days.
According to police affidavits, the friend told investigators Witherspoon had traveled to Myrtle Beach on Feb. 6 to meet with Browne. Affidavits do not say why Witherspoon was meeting with Browne.
Police say Browne admitted to an investigator meeting Witherspoon the night of Feb. 6. Investigators say Browne told them he had to drive Witherspoon back home from Myrtle Beach because she was injured. Affidavits do not say what Browne claimed Witherspoon's injury was.
After leaving Witherspoon at her home around 11:30 p.m. the night of Feb. 6, Mount Pleasant Police say S.C. Highway Patrol stopped Browne in Myrtle Beach shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Feb. 7.
Browne was pulled over for speeding citation for speeding (69 mph in 45 mph zone) on S.C. Hwy. 544 in Horry County, per Highway Patrol. Browne was driving Witherspoon's Cadillac at the time, according to Cpl. Sonny Collins with SCHP.
,Witherspoon later told police he met with Witherspoon again around 8 p.m. the night of Feb. 7, in Wilmington, NC, to return her vehicle.
Police say autopsy results from the coroner's office contradict Browne's claims, as Witherspoon's time of death has been determined to be more than 48 hours before her body was discovered Feb. 9.
Investigators believe Witherspoon was dead already when Browne claims to have met with her in Wilmington. Witherspoon's vehicle still has not been recovered, Mount Pleasant Police say.
Browne has no South Carolina criminal history besides the grand larceny charge, according to a background check provided by SLED. There also are no criminal convictions listed for Browne on the North Carolina Dept. of Public Safety criminal offender database.
Mount Pleasant Police on Feb. 15 released a heavily redacted incident report related to the department's investigation of Witherspoon's death, which unveiled none of the above information.
Police have declined to comment about the incident, citing an ongoing investigation.
When asked Monday, Feb. 18, about Browne's potential connection to the case, Mount Pleasant Police spokesman Insp. Chip Googe said he was not familiar with Browne.
*Clarification: A previous version of this story said police believe Browne may have been with Witherspoon at the time of her death. Police affidavits indicate Browne may have been with Witherspoon around the time of her death, but do not say he was with her specifically at the time she died.