Officers return to scene of double murder in Florence County

Monday afternoon, deputies with the Florence County Sheriff's Office went back to the home in Florence County where a mother and daughter were killed over the weekend.

They wanted to look for more evidence to make sure they cover all of their bases.

Officers searched around a home on Nicklaus Avenue in the Country Club of South Carolina.

"This incident reminds us that no area no neighborhood is immune from these types of violent situations," said Captain Michael Nunn with the Florence County Sheriff's Office.

Deputies got a call on Saturday from out-of-town relatives asking them to check on Punam Gopaldas, 31, and her mother Vinaben Patel, 56.

Officers went inside and found both women dead.

They say they were murdered, but aren't yet saying how they were killed.

A young child, who wasn't hurt, was also inside the house for the seven hours between the killing and when police arrived.

The child was immediately placed in the custody of the South Carolina Department of Social Services. The child is now staying with a family friend.

Nunn said, "Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of the victims."

Gopaldas was a nurse at Mcleod Health for the past five years.

Monday afternoon, hospital officials released a statement about Gopaldas' death.

"It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the loss of Punam Gopaldas, a nurse who served McLeod patients for more than five years. She was committed to her vocation and was a skilled health care practitioner who was respected among her colleagues and supervisors. We pray for the comfort of her family, friends and all her peers during this very difficult time," said McLeod Regional Medical Center Administrator Marie Segars.

Officials at the Marion County Technical Education Center ( say Gopaldas graduated from their nursing program in 2006. Mary Pool, coordinator of the nursing program, says Gopaldas was a sweet and kind person. She says she has a servant's heart for her patients.

Friends of Gopaldas say her mother was staying with her helping to take care of her young son.

Friends and neighbors call the murders senseless and are counting on deputies to bring the killer to justice.

"Rest assured that we are following every lead and making sure we have our bases covered and rechecked," said Captain Nunn.

Deputies aren't saying if they have a suspect or person of interest in this case.

The women's relatives are trying to put together a reward for information leading to an arrest.