BENNETTSVILLE, S.C. – A body found in Gum Swamp Creek in McColl has been identified as missing eight-year-old Iyana Lowery, and charges have been added for a man arrested in the case.
The body was found Sunday off New Bridge Road between McColl and Clio.
Lowery has been missing since May 5 when her mother Ella Lowery was found stabbed to death in a home on Craig Circle.
The Marlboro County Sheriff’s Office has added charges of murder and armed robbery to those already filed against Jejauncey Fernando Harrington, 32, of Bennettsville.
On Saturday, Harrington was charged with murder and possession of a weapon during a violent crime in the death of Ella Lowery, 36. Harrington was also charged with kidnapping in the Iyana Lowery’s disappearance.
Marlboro County Coroner Tim Brown made the identification using DNA records, and an autopsy was conducted in Charleston on Tuesday, authorities said.
“The coroner has ruled the manner of Iyana’s death a homicide,” said Marlboro County Sheriff Charles Lemon. “An autopsy conducted at the Medical University of South Carolina at Charleston today is providing additional information for the ongoing investigation.”
Agents with law enforcement departments from several counties in North Carolina and South Carolina have assisted in the search for Iyana Lowery along with South Carolina Law Enforcement Division and the FBI since she disappeared.
The sheriff’s office originally charged Dewayne Jermaine Bright, 36-year-old a man from Bennettsville who many people said had a learning disability, with Ella Lowery’s death.
Charges against Bright were dropped on Friday.
According to news reports, DNA found on a cigarette left at the scene of the crime matched the DNA profile of Harrington. The television station also said phone records, witnesses and Facebook posts link Harrington and Lowery.
Officers from the Laurinburg Police Department and Wagram Police Department, and Scotland County Sheriff’s Office joined Marlboro County in searching Scotland County for a vehicle connected to the case last Thursday, according to Major Ruben Castellon of the Scotland County Sheriff’s Office.
Harrington is being held at the Marlboro County Detention Center.
If convicted, Harrington faces possible life imprisonment. Felony murder and felony kidnap both carry a minimum sentence of 30 years, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime carries a five year minimum, according to Lemon.
Harrington was charged with murder in 2005, but was acquitted by trial in 2007, according to the Marlboro County index web page.
In 2015, Harrington was charged with unlawful carrying a pistol and has numerous offenses dating to 2007 for grand larceny, drug possession including possession of cocaine and LSD, and selling drugs near a school.
Reach Beth Lawrence 910-506-3169