Friends Mourn Man Found Dead; Hope For Missing Wife
Coroner: Homer Staton Beaten In Car, Body Dumped
POSTED: 5:57 am EDT October 27, 2009
UPDATED: 10:03 am EDT October 27, 2009
Anderson County, S.C, -- Those who loved Homer Staton grieved his death on Monday after hearing the word that his body was found in the woods just off an Anderson County road on Sunday. They were also left wondering what happened to his wife, JoAnn.
"You never saw him without a smile on his face," Staton's friend Phil Gillespie said. Staton had an uplifting spirit and an always-present smile, Gillespie, a friend for 30 years, remembers. "I can see him now, walking through that door," Gillespie said.
When the couple disappeared over the weekend, Gillespie said he feared the worst. "It's been a sad day for all of us," Gillespie said.
The couple's black 2007 Toyota Corolla was found along Horton Road in Belton Saturday, according to Anderson County investigators. The car had blood stains on the interior. More than 24 hours later, and 10-point-2 miles away, the 72-year-old's beaten body was found by a man walking his dog off Asaville School road. "We're sad that's Homer's not here but we still have a little hope for JoAnn," Gillespie said.
Investigators are still searching for Staton's wife. JoAnn, 69, and her husband were last seen eating at the Old Country Buffet on Wade Hampton Boulevard in Greenville County. Deputies used dogs on Monday to search the area where Homer's body was found.
Friends can't imagine who'd want to hurt them. Gillespie believes it had something to do with homer's business of buying and selling gold and jewelry
. "That's what I think happened, that he went to make a sale and probably they were jumped," Gillespie said.
Now those who loved the couple are holding onto a glimmer of hope, praying for answers and the peace that comes with closure. "Our hope is to find JoAnn. Hopefully she's alive. If not just hope she didn't suffer," Gillespie said.
The Statons have 3 grown children.
Homer was known to carry a gun and investigators said it was found, still on his body, at the scene.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Anderson County Sheriff's Office or Anderson CrimeStoppers at 231-STOP.
October 26, 2009: Missing Man's Body Identified; Search On For Wife