GREENVILLE, S.C. - A Greenville, S.C. man being held by Banks County, Ga. authorities on traffic charges now has been charged in the murder of a teacher in his home state.
The teacher, whose burned body was found in a room of the Quality Inn & Suites on S. Pleasantburg Drive in Greenville on March 3, was identified as Laurie Patton. The suspect, Darrin Eskew, 21, is one of her former students.
"He is awaiting extradition back to Greenville County on charges of murder, arson 3rd degree and grand larceny," said Master Deputy Jonathan Smith of the Greenville County Sheriff's Office.
Smith did not say why Patton and Smith were at the hotel, not did he discuss a possible motive for the murder. He confirmed that Patton's body had been burned so severely that forensics experts needed dental records to confirm her identity. He said the crime lab has not confirmed an exact cause of death, however.
Eskew was arrested on I-85 in Banks County the same day Patton's body was discovered. (See story linked below.) The suspect was driving the victim's car when he was pulled over.
Smith said linking the traffic violation to the murder was nothing more than sound police work.
"They [Banks County] did a great job, they tried to locate the owner who the vehicle was registered to, they were actually in contact with local law enforcement here," said Smith. "[That's how] we found out that that car and that individual was in Georgia. So, it was great police work with everyone involved."
NOTE: As of noon Friday, Eskew remained in the custody of Banks County authorities.