A South Carolina homeowner was arrested Sunday after the body of a missing woman he dated was discovered in a well on his property.
Perry Thomas Pruitt, 54, was charged with unauthorized removal of a dead body, WBTW reports. The day before, fire officials pulled the body of 57-year-old Patricia Ann Freeman out of a residential well on Pruitt’s property in Anderson. Bleach and mothballs were allegedly found in the water, too.
Pruitt and Freeman dated on and off, he told a judge on Monday during a bond hearing.
An autopsy found that Freeman's cause of death was a broken neck, according to TV station WYFF. The autopsy indicated Freeman died several months ago.
Deputies suspect that Pruitt put Freeman's dead body into the well, though they have not ruled out that perhaps she died falling into it.
Officials checked out the well because Pruitt’s neighbor, Tomy Johnson, complained about the smell of the water.
“[Pruitt] had said it'd been sitting for a while and everything, just stagnated water," Johnson told WSPA.
When Johnson suggested they get the water tested, he says Pruitt became upset. That prompted Johnson to contact the Anderson County sheriff’s department. “I just couldn't believe that we would move into a home and someone would have a body in their well,” he said.
Freeman was reported missing on February 6, but her brother told deputies he had not seen his sister since September.