UPDATE: Coroner: Manner of victim’s death in S.C. 22 crash was homicide; man charged


HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – A 20-year-old man has been charged with murder and kidnapping following a fatal accident on S.C. 22 on Tuesday, May 16.

Justin Oneil Penn, of Montgomery, Ala., is being held without bond after being charged on Thursday, May 18.

Horry County police say they believe Penn was holding 19-year-old Shemeria Smith against her will in the vehicle that was involved in the deadly collision.

Before police arrived on scene of the crash Tuesday, they were notified by dispatch that Conway police had a report of a woman being held against her will, and that the vehicle in that case, a Honda Accord with Alabama plates, was the same vehicle involved in the crash on S.C. 22.

While investigating the crash, the South Carolina Highway Patrol was advised by a police corporal that the crash was possibly caused by an intentional act, but at this time, Horry County police say they can’t confirm if that is the case or not.

Smith, who had recently moved to the Myrtle Beach area from Alabama, died at Grand Strand Medical Center the morning after the accident.

Horry County Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard said Smith’s cause of death was multiple traumatic injuries sustained in the crash and the manner was homicide.

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