Of the unsolved cases that the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office continues to investigate, the unsolved homicide of Francis Earle remains among the most perplexing for investigators.
On July 12th, 2009, Ms. Earle, who was 74 years old, was found dead in her home at 115 Brookwood Drive in Seneca after an attempted arson. The neighborhood that Ms. Earle lived in was located on a road between Carson Road and Highway 123 just outside of Seneca and for the most part is a very quiet and not heavily traveled subdivision. The house where she lived has now been torn down. Ms. Earle was reportedly shot to death, according to investigators, back on July 7th. Investigators were able to make a determination on when she was shot due to mail and newspapers that were found at her residence, as well as the autopsy results. The house was set on fire and investigators have yet to really determine a motive in the case.
Investigators are not sure how the individual(s) that were involved came upon Ms. Earle, as there was no forced entry into the home. It is a possibility that either Ms. Earle was taken by surprise or she knew her attacker(s). Investigators believe that where Ms. Earle was found in the home was where she was killed, which was the bathroom.
“This was a completely senseless, violent act,” according to Captain Greg Reed of the Criminal Investigations Division of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.
Captain Reed says that there were several persons of interest in the case that were cleared of any involvement. Investigators have continued to follow leads in the case and have additional person(s) of interest but need the more information to go forward. There has been no probable cause for investigators to make an arrest. However, Captain Reed believes that this may not have been a random act and that the individual(s) involved may have looked upon this as a crime of opportunity.”
Oconee County Sheriff Crenshaw wants the offender(s) in this case brought to justice. “This case is the perfect example of a senior citizen unable to protect herself that was killed for no reason. Regardless of the circumstances, there was no way that this victim would have harmed anyone. The killer in this case needs to be held accountable for their actions. We must provide greater protection for those unable to protect themselves such as our senior citizens. I ask anyone that may have any information at all to please contact law enforcement. Help us bring this Grandmother’s and Mother’s killer to justice.”
If you have any information on the unsolved homicide of Frances Earle, please call Crimestoppers at 864-638-STOP, 1-888-CRIME-SC, or you can text in your tip to 274637. You don’t have to give your name or if your tip leads to an arrest, you could be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.