Autopsy inconclusive but deputies say husband killed wife

Florence County Coroner Bubba Matthews says the body of a missing woman found Wednesday afternoon was so decomposed that an autopsy couldn't determine a cause of death.

Deputies with the Florence County Sheriff's Office Devin Ham Ivey's husband killed her and they have an indication of how she died, but they can't release it at this point.

Felicia Howard of Olanta never imagined the search for her longtime friend, 22 year old Devin Ham Ivey, would end so tragically.

Howard says they went to school together at South Florence High School and worked together at the Jeanne's Mini-Mart and were roommates a few years ago.

"It's just sad. I don't know what to say. It's just really sad that somebody did an innocent person the way they did them," said Howard.

Deputies say it was Ivey's husband of less than one year who killed her.

Rodney Ivey, 23, stood before Magistrate Judge Belinda Timmons Thursday for his initial court appearance.

Investigators say he became a person of interest when he repeatedly lied about his wife's disappearance.

Tuesday, deputies charged him with giving false information to law enforcement because they say he told them five different stories about what happened to his wife.

Bond was set on that charge, but he remained in jail on a probation violation.

According to officials with SC Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services, Ivey violated the conditions of his probation when he did not tell them that he was being questioned by law enforcement in the disappearance of his wife.

Officials say anyone on probation is required to notify their probation officer whenever they have contact with law enforcement.

A background check on Ivey with theState Law Enforcement Division states that Ivey has served time in state prison for burglary under the Youth Offender Act. The program allows young offenders to serve about a year of their prison sentences and be released on probation and parole.

If they are found to have violated probation, they could be sent back to prison for the remainder of their sentence.

Deputies and volunteers began a massive search for her Monday before finding her body Wednesday on Brown Road in the Coward-Scranton Deputies and volunteers began a massive search for her Monday before finding her body Wednesday on Brown Road in the Coward-Scranton area.

Investigators say was the condition of Devin Ivey's car that led teams to search the long dirt road.

"It was a lot of dust built up on the car when we started this investigation that led us to believe that someone driving that car had been up and down a dirt road," said Captain Brett Camp.

Camp says they believe Ivey killed his wife here at the Budget Inn Motel in Olanta where the couple had been staying for about three days last week. He can't say what day she was killed, but they do believe Ivey was dead before her husband reported his wife missing.

Captain Camp says the couple had been going through problems in recent weeks.

Camp said, " There were a number of disputes here in the past several weeks and all that led to the situation of the cause of her death."

Felicia Howard says she didn't spend much time with Ivey after she got married.

She says her friend was striving to do well.

"She tried to do something with her life and she was trying to do really good for herself," said Howard.

Ivey faces up to life in prison if convicted of the murder.

Court officials say he qualifies for a public defender because of his income, but she told him he has the option to hire a private attorney.

Ivey didn't indicate what he would do.

Ivey is scheduled to appear in court on August 17 for preliminary hearing.

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