A female employee was found dead in a department store bathroom four days after her death.
Bessie Durham worked as a janitor at Belk Department Store in Lexington County, South Carolina, and strangely went missing late last week. Authorities noted her fellow employees recalled seeing her for the final time last Thursday, which is the same time frame in which the 63-year-old’s family claimed to speak with her last. Deputy Chief Melron Kelly with the Columbia Police Department explained Bessie’s family actually went to the station to file a missing person’s report Monday after not hearing from her for those four days, ultimately revealing:
“We were with the family taking a missing person’s report, and once we were on scene and did a little investigating, we did discover the person deceased at the Belk.”
That’s so tragic… “A little investigating” is all it took to find her? How did she go unnoticed for four days?? In a department store PUBLIC BATHROOM, nonetheless! Kelly continued:
“We’re still working with the store to find out what their process is to closing down the store, inspecting the store and things of that nature.”
While the investigation is still in its early stages, criminal charges remain a possibility as the full circumstances surrounding the death are not yet known. Belk explained in a statement:
“First and foremost, we send our deepest condolences to the family of the housekeeping associate who was employed by KBS, which provides cleaning services at our Columbiana Centre location. At this time, we are working with KBS to determine the details around what happened. We have also made counselors available to Belk and KBS associates seeking support.”
Chief Kelly further explained authorities will continue to work with the department store and its employees to confirm the last time Bessie was seen, and the Lexington County Coroner to determine exactly how and when she died. As of now, the Coroner’s office has revealed there were no indications of drug use, and an autopsy is slated for later on this week.
Beverly Stroman, a local Columbia resident, explained to Action News 5:
“There are a lot of questions that need to be answered. You wonder why the customers didn’t see it and report it, but you would think, the employees if she’s still on the clock, would know that and go and check to see where she was.”
We completely agree! It just seems so unlikely for her to go unnoticed for the four days she was in that bathroom, especially during a weekend of shopping — think about how many people were just feet away from her for several consecutive days… Sherry Wheeler, another Columbia resident told the outlet:
“That’s terrible. I was just there yesterday… if I’d gone in the restroom, which I usually do a lot, you know, I don’t know, that’s just terrible.”
Awful circumstances for this poor woman and her family. We send love and strength to those loved ones. Let us know your thoughts on the case in the comments down below. Rest in peace.
[Images via NBC News/YouTube]