Cold Case Solved

For one sheriff, the crime was personal

Evan Smith
December 13, 2018 - 2:40 pm

There’s a reason Berkeley County Sheriff Duane Lewis was so driven to solve a 1981 cold case.

It wasn’t just the brutality of the case, in which two Goose Creek teen girls were kidnapped, shot and left for dead.

Luckily, both girls survived.

But for Lewis, this case was personal, because he went to high school with the victims.

But that wasn’t his only connection to the crime.

As he would eventually learn, he also knew the family of the suspect recently arrested in the case.

Think about Goose Creek back in 1981 – it was a different place,” Lewis said. “We knew everybody, I went to school with these girls, and we all were touched and it affected all of us.”

“It never left me,” he added.

The locality was what shook Lewis: just days before, he had been at that very spot where the crime took place.

“I was at that very location with a bunch of my friends three days before this incident occurred, and again that’s why this case has always stuck with me,” Lewis said.

Ultimately it was long-forgotten DNA evidence that led to the arrest of 62-year-old Bruce Allen Kirkpatrick, who was charged with kidnapping, assault and battery with intent to kill, and armed robbery.

“It was forensic evidence that we were able to discover,” Lewis said, “and we found additional evidence that we didn’t know we had at some point during the investigation and just kept working on it. These detective have been working this case for almost a year.”

Lewis knew the Kirkpatrick family, he said. And now that the case is solved, the community can breathe a little easier.

“It really illustrates that there’s always something that can be done, and I preach that,” Lewis said.

Kirkpatrick was denied bond.

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