Two years before the disappearance of the Millbrook Twins, and six years before Tiffany Nelson went missing, another African American girl went missing about an hour north - in a small town called Greenwood, South Carolina. Throughout the 30+ year investigation, various leads and suspects would come and go. However, for nearly thirty years, the abduction and murder of "Kia" Logan has gone unsolved.
On May 15th, 1988, all seemed to be well in the world.
It was a Sunday in Greenwood, South Carolina - a small town roughly an hour north of Augusta, Georgia and about an hour-and-a-half west of Columbia, South Carolina. Greenwood is the type of town you imagine when you think of rural America: a downtown comprised of brick buildings, a railroad track that separates the storefronts from the industrial area, and a large suburban population.
It's a town of roughly 20,000 people - a population level that hasn't really changed in over thirty years.
On the northern outskirts of the town is the small country airport, which consists of a single elongated runway. Just a couple of blocks from this airport are a number of apartment complexes - all of which are a few miles out from downtown Greenwood.
On this Sunday afternoon, in the middle of May, all seemed to be well. Friends were celebrating the warm weather by swimming in the apartment pools, kids were playing outside among others their age, and families were barbecuing and picnicking in the community areas.
An eight-year-old girl that lived in this community was out playing with her sister and a friend on their apartment complex's basketball court. They were just a few hundred or so yards from their apartment, where the sisters lived with their mother, a middle school teacher.
The sun was beginning to set, and this eight-year old climbed onto her bike to head back home. Her older sister and friend stayed at the basketball court for a little while longer. It wasn't until the sister returned to the apartment complex half-an-hour later that anyone realized this eight-year old was missing. In-between the apartment's basketball court and her front door, this little girl had disappeared.
Police would find out what happened to this little girl over the years, but it would take time, advancements in DNA technology, and the persistence of dedicated investigators. And in that time, more terrifying and intriguing mysteries would present themselves.
This is the story of Malakia Zali Logan.
Malakia Zali Logan, most commonly called by her nickname, Kia, was born on August 1st, 1979. Newspaper reports indicate that she was born with two holes in her heart, but she would turn out to be stronger than she knew.
Her father, Richard Logan, was the mayor of a small South Carolina town named Saluda. However, Kia lived with her mother, Bernetta Logan Baylor, who was a teacher at a nearby middle school. She had one sister, named Renee, and the three lived in an apartment complex just north of Greenwood, South Carolina.
It was this apartment complex where, on a Sunday evening in the middle of May, everything seemed right with the world. Families were barbecuing, having picnics, and hanging out in the pool, while children were playing all around the complex.
Kia and her sister, Renee, were playing with some friends on the basketball court, when Kia decided to turn in at around 8:30 PM. She hopped on her bike and began riding back to her mother's apartment - a distance no greater than three-hundred yards.
When her sister, Renee, went home approximately twenty to thirty minutes later, she was surprised to find out that Kia had not yet returned. All of their friends in the apartment complex had since gone home, so Renee knew that Kia wasn't still out there.
Bernetta, the girls' mother, began looking around the apartment complex for eight-year old Kia. She could find no sign of her, but they would later find Kia's bike overturned just outside of the apartment office.
A little after nine o'clock that evening, Kia was reported missing to the Greenwood County Sheriff's Department. Dennis Beauford, one of the first deputies to arrive at the scene, stated: "It was a pretty Sunday afternoon. When I drove up, and looked at that bike in the parking lot, I had a gut feeling something wasn't right and I called Riley at home."
Riley, of course, was Major Sam Riley of the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office. Riley, a famously tight-lipped officer, stated: "We're treating it strictly as a missing persons report. We're requesting anyone with information call our office."
A missing persons report was filed with the county, where Kia is listed as being 4'2" tall, and weighing about 60 to 70 pounds. She was a small girl, who had been wearing yellow shorts, a yellow-and-white polka-dot shirt, and slip-on shoes on the evening she disappeared.
Dennis Beauford, the responding deputy, ended up staying the night on the couch of the Logan family, waiting for there to be any ransom calls or communication from Kia herself. Unfortunately, none came, and the next day, they had to begin investigating Kia's disappearance in earnest.
That day - Monday, May 16th - approximately seventy-five people helped conduct a search around the apartment complex. They combed around the Georgetown Apartments for most of the night, until the lack of light eventually led to them turning it around. Earlier in the day, they had been aided by helicopters provided by SLED - the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, a statewide police agency.
Unfortunately, the searches came up with no sign of Kia, or any clue as to what had happened to her.
The searches and canvass of the apartment complex continued on into Tuesday, but police wouldn't release another public statement until May 18th - Wednesday.
That was when police announced that they were looking for two men, who had been seen in the vicinity of the Georgetown apartment complex late Sunday afternoon. These two men were not immediately believed to be suspects, but were wanted for questioning.
Major Sam Riley stated about this lead:
"As a result of interviews we are now looking for two men and two vehicles.
"We're looking for a medium blue utility-type van with dark tinted windows. It was occupied by an older white male with graying hair.
"We're also looking for a faded dark blue or black Monte Carlo, a mid-70's model. It was occupied by a white male, thirty-five to forty years of age, slender built, lean or pointed facial features with brownish blond hair with sun streaks."
Police had continued to interview people within the apartment complex, hoping to learn more about these two mysterious men and any ties they had to the tenants.
Greenwood's Emergency Preparedness Director Herbert Vaughn spoke to the local press, and talked about the searches his department had helped conduct in the area on Monday and Tuesday. They had suspended the searches on Tuesday afternoon, after finding nothing in the two days out there.
"We're now awaiting requests from law enforcement for further assistance. The physical search didn't produce any leads or clues. Unless new evidence emerges, our participation is over."
With the searches beginning to run dry, a reward fund for information was established by Tuck Wooten, the head of the A.M. Tuck Inc. concrete company. Titled "The Malakia Z. Logan Reward Fund," it hope to incentivize anyone with information to come forward.
One of the most intriguing and promising leads in this investigation came on that Wednesday night, May 18th, when a composite sketch of a potential suspect was aired on the evening news.
The sketch came from the witness sightings of the second person-of-interest, who had been driving the dark mid-70's model Monte Carlo. He was described as being between thirty-five and forty years old, with slender ad pointed facial features. His height was listed in the range of 5'8" or 5'9", and he was of slight build, in the weight range of 150 pounds.
His hair was dark blonde, which could vary anywhere between blonde and dark brown. The witnesses had described his hair as having a light glow to it, but they couldn't definitively see it.
However, one of the most interesting notes of this sketch came from a description, which noted that the suspect had a pockmarked face. This would come up later in the story, so please keep that in-mind.
By Thursday, May 19th, the mood in the Georgetown apartment complex had changed dramatically.
The sunny atmosphere from just a few days prior had evaporated. Carolyn Kelley, the apartment/property manager that lived in the apartments with her daughter and granddaughter, had noticed a complete overhaul of the environment. Her granddaughter, Ashley, had been friends with both Kia and Renee Logan, and had actually been playing with the two on the basketball court shortly before Kia disappeared.
"It's definitely changed the lifestyle here. Georgetown has always been a family-type community. In the afternoons you see small children running and playing, riding skateboards, that kind of thing."
She was also quoted as saying:
"People are definitely keeping small children in. It's like a depression has set in."
Greenwood County Sheriff Giles Daniel stated that calls were still pouring in about Kia, either potential sightings or people that may know something.
Major Sam Riley was quoted as saying: "These leads have carried the investigation outside of the Greenwood area."
South Carolina's Law Enforcement Division spokesman Hugh Munn stated about the composite drawing which the authorities had debuted the evening before:
"We've done all the groundwork we can. The composite is the latest thing we have and we're trying to develop leads from that. That's all we've got. We're scraping the bottom right now."
Sadly, he wasn't too far off. Over the coming weeks, the leads that Sheriff Giles Daniel was excited about began to dry up, either leading to dead ends or going nowhere at all. The composite, for all of its intrigue, led to no real suspects in the surrounding area.
On May 30th, over two weeks after Kia had disappeared, investigators were still optimistic. But that optimisim would be short-lived, as weeks began to bleed into months.
On July 4th, the Greenwood-area newspaper, the Index Journal, ran a story detailing Kia's mom, Bernetta Logan, as she struggled with the disappearance of her youngest daughter.
In the weeks since Kia had gone missing, Bernetta struggled to leave the phone for any prolonged period of time. She didn't want to miss any potential calls from Kia.
"Normally there would be a family get-together in Saluda. This year my daughter Renee will go, but I will stay here to answer the phone, just in case.
"I hope wherever she (Kia) is, she's safe and alive and she'll be home soon. Part of me is missing and I need to find it."
The author of the newspaper article noted that as she spoke about her daughter, Bernetta was clutching a photo of Kia.
Despite this overwhelming sadness experienced by Bernetta and her family at this moment in time, the article had a profound effect on the community. The next day, a retired pediatrician named Casper E. Wiggins wrote a heartfelt editorial in the Index Journal, which read as follows:
" A child is missing, and apart from the few days immediately after her kidnapping, the public outcry has been next to nothing. But, let a Carolina or a Clemson sports event take the forefront and emotions bubble over throughout the community. Can't we show at least as much concern for the fate of a child? Pity us if we don't! Is it twisted thinking? Does it not bother you, as it does me, that our community, with a few exceptions, seems to be showing little aggressive concern over the mysterious disappearance of one of our children, Kia Logan? It bothers me that we seem willing to accept this obvious crime against a child without a public uproar. I am not criticizing the authorities, who are working hard to solve the case. Nor am I criticizing those who have helped so far or those concerned citizens who have contributed to the present approximately $3000 reward. I am criticizing the rest of us who thrive in our community yet appear apathetic. I criticize us for not raising such an uproar it would be heard across this nation .. The message we should be sending far and wide is not one emphasizing our public apathy, but one which loudly reveals that the people of Greenwood County will not sit idly by while our children disappear! How can we send such a message? One way is to make the amount of the reward really impressive and/or tempting. I'm thinking in terms of fifty or a hundred thousand dollars for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible a reward made up of contributions from those who really care, in amounts affordable to them parents, concerned citizens and businesses. I feel confident such an impressive reward, with the proper publicity, will help the authorities solve this mystery AND our community may well have made the solution possible. The County Bank is accepting and receipting donations. I'm going down today and make my donation and I challenge you, be you a parent, citizen or business, if you're really concerned about what happens to the children of the Greenwood Community, go down to any office of the County Bank and make your donation. Let's send the message forth: "Greenwood County folks get right upset when one of their children is criminally abused.
- Casper E. Wiggins, M.D."
Over the next week, the letter written by Dr. Wiggins inspired many to pledge support to the Malakia Z. Logan Reward Fund. A follow-up news article stated how employees of the local K-Mart, so moved by Wiggins' battle cry, raised $650 within an hour. Local businesses continued by making donations to the fund.
Two months into the investigation, at least one thing was crystal clear: Kia Logan may have been missing, but she most certainly wasn't going to be forgotten.
By September 15th, Kia had been missing for four months. The investigation to find her had still gone nowhere truly productive, with police beginning to expand their search out of the area... according to some in the police department, even out of the state.
Investigators had been pursuing clues as far away as California, and trying to tie Kia's disappearance to other stories of missing children in the surrounding states. Major Sam Riley was stated:
"Our department, as well as SLED and FBI personnel, are still actively investigating. Her picture appeared on ADVO cards in August and the story was recently on television. Both of these generated more leads of possible sightings of Kia Logan and suspects bearing a resemblance of the composite of a man wanted for questioning. Also, the Kia Reward Fund is growing and we are hopeful that this will bring someone forward with positive information. We are also following up on similar situations that occur in this area and nationwide."
Through the rest of the year, police would remain relatively silent as to where their investigation stood. They were still investigating new avenues, but none of them led anywhere. Soon, children began playing outside of the Georgetown apartments once again, Kia's disappearance becoming an outlier to a safe community.
Soon, the one-year anniversary of Kia's disappearance had come-and-gone. By this point, her family had begun to fear the worst. They had held out hope that someone had abducted her for ransom, or perhaps - just perhaps - she actually had run away. But now a parent's worst fear was beginning to creep into their bones... the realization that she had not been okay, that something HAD happened to her.
Dennis Beauford, the deputy who had responded to the incident and originally stayed the night, continued to feel a personal connection to the story.
"Every time I open up the evidence room door, I see the bike and it's haunted me. It's a reminder of unfinished business."
Within the year, the Malakia Z. Logan Reward Fund had topped $20,000, for any information that would lead to answers for the missing eight-year old. Despite that, police wouldn't have any real leads to follow up on until October of the next year, 1990.
On October 1st, 1990 - a Monday - a hunter was in an area just outside of Newberry, South Carolina.
The wooded area he was in, just off of Mount Pleasant Road - also known as S.C. 34 - is about four miles northeast of Newberry and thirty-five miles east of Greenwood, where Kia Logan had disappeared from.
As the hunter walked along a pasture fence, he stumbled upon a small object resembling a human skull.
Police were called to the scene, and the skull was taken into police custody for testing. Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster told the media: "It was obvious that it was the skull of a child. We began checking missing children cases and conducted three weeks of intensive searches for additional remains, but we didn't find anything."
Little else could be determined of the victim or how they had died, as the skull showed no signs of obvious trauma or any bullet holes. However, because of its size, they were able to determine that the victim had been thirteen years of age or younger. Sheriff Foster continued: "We are reasonably sure, at this point, the skull was not dug from a grave." This meant that police were pretty confident that the skull had been intentionally left there.
Newberry County Memorial Hospital forensic pathologist Dr. Keene Garvin reiterated this finding, stating - after preliminary testing had been conducted - that the skull was likely placed there are the body had decomposed.
Sam Riley, who had been a Major in the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office, had recently been elected Sheriff. He spoke about the skull as well, stating about his communication with the Newberry County Sheriff's Office: "We were in contact with them yesterday and we will be in contact with them again today. They haven't made any positive identification yet. They're going to search for other skeletal remains in identification."
The Newberry County Sheriff's Office, along with other law enforcement and volunteer agencies, conducted searches in the area where the skull had been found. They searched pretty exhaustively for around three weeks, unable to locate any more remains other than the skull.
Sending it off for testing, they had to hope that they could uncover any evidence that could help lead them to the culprit.
Immediately, investigators became convinced that the skull could have belonged to the missing Kia Logan, who had been missing from a town roughly half-an-hour away for two-and-a-half years now. They tried to use the dental records and skull reconstruction techniques available to them, in an effort to determine if the skull was Kia's, but nothing was positively confirmed.
However, with DNA testing being in its infancy, it would be years before they could definitively test the skull for forensic proof.
They sent it off for continued testing at the University of South Carolina, where a forensic anthropologist was able to tell investigators that the skull belonged "to a six-to-eight-year-old African American."
In 1993, the skull was sent off to the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, DC for DNA testing. Remember, this is before the trial of OJ Simpson, so DNA testing was very much in its infancy. Those early tests were inconclusive, relying on DNA found in the skull itself in very primitive ways.
In 1996, the testing of mitochondrial DNA was performed at a genetics lab in North Carolina. The results were testing alongside DNA taken from Kia's parents, Bernetta and Richard, and this time, it proved consistent.
This not being enough, the skull would later be sent to an FBI lab in 1998. Here, the skull would be confirmed as belonging to Kia Logan, with the FBI forensic investigators theorizing that Kia had originaly been killed in Greenwood County and then later dumped in Newberry County.
It took over a decade, but Kia's parents were finally given answers as to what had happened ot their daughter. Kia was dead. In-between her 1988 disappearance and the 1998 confirmation that the skull belonged to her, they had prepared for the worst but anticipated Kia returning home.
Dennis Beauford, the deputy who had originally responded, was a Sergeant at this point in time for the Greenwood County Sheriff's Office. He stated about the confirmation of the skull belonging to Kia:
"I felt for a long time that the skull was hers, but I hoped it wasn't. I had dreams that maybe she's been in California or somewhere all this time."
When the skull was discovered in 1990, it proved a lone clue in a vast sea of nothingness. However, by the time the skull was forensically proven as belonging to Kia Logan, they had come across a suspect they believed was not only responsible for Kia's death, but an assortment of various sexual assaults and crimes against children.
His name was Charles Wade Hampton.
Between 1995 and 1996, the states of Georgia and South Carolina began investigating a series of sexual assaults that occurred along a specific interstate.
In all of the sexual assaults, the victim profile remained largely the same. There were six victims in total, all of whom - save for one - were young black girls between the ages of five and nine. The lone exception was a five-year old girl with tan, olive-colored skin who had dark feaures. They all lived in housing close to the highway in-question, and they were all abducted from one location and led to another. In most cases, they were sexually assaulted before being abandoned in a public setting, but at least one of the girls wasn't... she was simply abducted and then dumped off at a gas station, where she was able to call for help.
The days in which the victims were abducted varied, with three of the crimes happening on a Saturday, a Friday, and a Monday. However, three - which took place in the middle of this crime spree - took place on a Thursday.
Just like the day of the week, the timing changed, as well: some victims were abducted as early as 12:45 in the afternoon, while others were abducted as the sun began to set: seven or eight o'clock at night.
The crime spree began in July 1995 and carried on until August of 1996. Like I said, these crimes varied by location, with some taking place in Georgia and others in South Carolina. It wasn't until the third or fourth crime that police began to link the crimes together, when the suspect descriptions began to slowly align with one another.
In each crime, the suspect was described as a middle-aged white man, with some kind of gray stubble on his face and a pockmarked complexion, as well as a unique tattoo on a bicep - which some of the young victims called a "dragon," and others a "snake."
While some descriptions of this suspect varied - such as at least one of the girls calling the suspect "fat in his tummy" and the perpetrator's hair color varying - these details were all universally agreed upon.
It took police a while to line up the suspect description because the vehicles in-question varied based on each witness: two described the vehicle they had been abducted in as a champagne-gold Mazda, while others pointed out either a white Toyota Corolla or a white Chevy Celebrity. Another description was vague, calling it simply an older model white compact or subcompact with blue interior.
At around the time these sexual assaults came to an end, in the summer of 1996, police began to eye a specific sexual deviant as a potential suspect. He had been in police custody, and when questioned, he began confessing to the crimes. He included details, some of which convinced police that he had involvement, but others they viewed skeptically.
Charles Wade Hampton was born on September 21st, 1952. As an adult, he stood about five-feet-eight-inches tall, weighing it at only 132 pounds. He had green eyes, with brown hair, a brown mustache, and a few days' worth of graying stubble at the time of his arrest in 1996. He also had a blotchy, pockmarked face, made worse from poison ivy exposure the year prior.
Early on in questioning, Charles admitted that he often changed his hair color. His ex-wife and girlfriend agreed on that - they often helped him dye it, during time periods that turned out to correlate with the 1995 and 1996 sexual assaults.
He was a former Department of Transportation employee, who lived in Clarke County, Georgia, and worked at the rest stop at Hard Labor Creek State Park as a maintenance man. He had been previously terminated due to unexcused absences and excessive tardiness, but that didn't stop him from getting into trouble.
You see, despite being let go, he was arrested in 1996 after drilling some holes in the wall of the women's bathroom. He was accused of intentionally drilling the holes to Peep on unwitting victims, and arrested shortly after this was discovered.
At the time of his arrest, he was forty-four years old, and was driving a white 1986 Dodge 600. Police noted that he had a snake tattoo on his upper arm, as well as his initials - C.H. - tattooed on his right shoulder. He also had scars along his right arm and stomach, which matched up with what one of the younger victims had described.
Upon his arrest, he proved very cooperative with law enforcement. In fact, police noted that he might have been a little TOO eager at times. He immediately provided voluntary consent for police to search his vehicle by signing a Waiver of Constitutional Rights to a Search Warrant - a provision he also signed for a search of his home. He voluntarily provided blood and hair samples.
While police began a search of his home and his vehicle, he openly admitted to several things. He described not only his sex life - which included sex with both genders - but his prior criminal history. You see, in 1981, he had been arrested and convicted for the rape of a sixteen-year old, telling interrogators that his seminal fluid had been used to convict him.
In his vehicle, police found many out-of-place items: things such as clothing, toilet paper, the marriage certificate of him and his ex-wife, etc. But there were also nude photographs of women - including images of his then-girlfriend - and a pornographic magazine named "Stroke Off Tales."
Most concerning, though, were torn out magazine images of children - a discovery that made investigators think that there might be more to this deviant than meets the eye.
When they searched his home, they found several photographs of children in underwear, as well as various photos of nude adults - including pictures of Hampton himself.
Police also found actual pairs of children's underwear in his laundry, which then sent in for forensic testing.
After this discovery, interrogators circled back around to Hampton. He was more than willing to continue talking, even answering questions about his prior sexual assault conviction from 1981.
When asked about the rash of sexual assaults against children, he suspiciously stated that the person responsible "would know how not to get caught," at least this time.
Needless to say, Charles Hampton was now on their radar.
Charles Hampton agreed to give up blood and hair samples to investigators. When they continued their rounds of questioning, Hampton was eager to talk.
He openly confessed to committing several of the child abductions, providing explicit details of the subsequent sexual assaults. Many of these details matched up with what police had heard from the victims themselves - but others did not.
Hampton confessed to committing three child abductions in a northern Georgia town, and even confessed to killing a child out on a farm. Police were able to link Hampton to a farm owned in northern Georgia, which was owned by a friend of his. Hampton was known to spend a good amount of time on this farm, and it remained on the investigator's radar for a good amount of time after this initial confession.
Police took Hampton out of jail, and drove him to many of the landmarks and locations from the child abductions. Just like the details he provided: he knew some information about these locales, but not all of the minute details. It began to seem to police like he was making things up as he went along, but they were constantly reminded by the facts that something was amiss.
This is when police spoke to Hampton's ex-wife and girlfriend, who told them things about Charles that made them think he was a viable suspect. They learned about how he constantly changed his hair color, and had driven a number of cars over the last few years: some of which included a 1977 maroon Dodge Aspen, a 1965 Chevy Bel Air, and a bronze-colored Chrysler.
As police tried to pinpoint the motive for Hampton's confessions, the forensic analysis they were hoping to rely on brought back an intriguing proposition. The DNA testing from the six sexual assaults linked them together, indicating that a single suspect was behind each of the crimes - however, none of those samples matched up with Hampton himself. If they wanted to try him for any of those crimes, they needed a more definitive smoking gun.
It all pointed to a very confusing puzzle, which police didn't know how to make sense of. They had reason to believe that Hampton had been responsible for some truly terrible crimes, but they had no prove any of them.
Hampton would plead guilty to his original felony Peeping Tom charge, meaning that he would be spending the next five years in state prison. This meant that investigators now had half-a-decade to try and work out a case against him.
As Hampton prepared for his five-year sentence, he was facing investigations and charges from four separate states. Not only were Georgia and South Carolina preparing cases against him, but North Carolina and Florida were investigating him for similar child abductions and sexual assaults in their states.
Unfortunately for them, as soon as Hampton went to jail for Peeping Tom, he stopped cooperating with investigators. He also soon recanted all of his prior confessions, meaning that police had to start back from square one.
Upon the 1996 arrest of Charles Hampton, the string of child abductions plaguing the area of Georgia and South Carolina seemed to come to an end.
When Hampton stopped cooperating with police and withdrew his previous statements taking credit for the 1995 and 1996 sexual assaults, police realized that they needed to build a case around evidence, not just his comments. What he had told them was intriguing at face-value, but there was nothing incriminating: it was as-if he was saying enough to keep police on-the-hook, but not enough to actually be charged with any crimes.
Police were beginning to become certain that Hampton had simply been lying to them in order to obtain special privileges: such as trips outside of jail, meals, coffee, and cigarettes.
When it was finally time for Hampton to be released, he was immediately re-arrested for a warrant investigators had planned. It was a crime where no sexual assault had taken place, but centered around the abduction of a seven-year old victim in 1995.
However, it wasn't until 2002 that prosecutors began firing off the big guns at Hampton. This was when he was transferred to a jail in Greenwood county - the same county where Kia Logan had disappeared from in 1988.
Prosecutors there had been building a case against Hampton since the summer of 2000, but chose not to bring it forward because of an interstate agreement between Georgia and South Carolina. Hampton had been sitting in a Georgia prison at the time, and if South Carolina prosecutors tried the case at that time, they would be forced to bring Hampton to trial within 180 days. They wanted to take their time, and waited until his holding period for the 1995 warrant was nearing its end to finally strike.
This indictment was signed by 8th Circuit Solicitor William Townes Jones - the same William Townes Jones whose daughter, Townes, was given international popularity in the Harry Styles' song "Carolina."
The indictment against Charles Wade Hampton included crimes such as murder, kidnapping, criminal sexual conduct with a minor, and assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct.
Speaking about the indictment, longtime Greenwood County Sheriff Sam Riley stated: "There was no relationship between him and Kia. He did not live here. This was a random act, which seems to be his technique."
Police and prosecutors seemed certain at the time of this indictment - November 6th, 2002 - that Charles Hampton was responsible for the abduction and murder of Malakia Zali Logan. They were both prepared to pursue the death penalty in the upcoming criminal trial, which they were allowed to for any kidnapping or sexual assault charges when the victim was eleven years old or younger. Hampton plead not guilty almost instantly.
The prosecutors consulted Kia's family throughout this process, taking their feelings into consideration. The family, to their credit, was steadfast in their conviction, wanting to to see Hampton in a court to face the charges levied against him.
However, the criminal trial would never come to be.
On June 22nd, 2007 - a Friday - the charges against Charles Wade Hampton were suddenly dropped.
It had been nearly five years since the original indictment was filed, accusing him of the abduction and murder of Kia Logan. Prosecutors, once-confident that the case against him was looking rock-solid, were now worried about not having enough evidence against him. They wanted to keep their options option, should more evidence be found against him, so they didn't want him to go free and then lose any chance at a prosecutor under double jeopardy laws.
8th Circuit Solicitor Jerry Peace, who had replaced William Townes Jones in the preceding half-decade, had plenty to say about this decision.
"The murder kidnapping and criminal sexual misconduct charges have been dropped. We couldn't prove this case."
Peace stated that Hampton had falsely confessed to "one, maybe two murders in Georgia and one in Columbia. DNA testing didn't match him in one of the Georgia cases.
"Reading his statement, you'd think that only the person who did that would know those details.
"Maybe he did it, maybe he didn't. But we can't prove it.
"He'll get credit for time served and good behavior. So, he'll be back on the street. He'll be back on the street. Scary.
"The case is 19 years old; the family has been living with it for 19 years. No closure. They're no closer today than they were back in 1988 when Kia was snatched up. That's really bad for the family."
Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster also shared his thoughts, referring to the active state of the investigation... or rather, the lack of one: "I can't think of anything worse than losing a child to an act of violence, then on top of that losing a child which you really don't know what happened."
Charles Wade Hampton later plead guilty to obstruction of justice charges, which stemmed from him lying to investigators. In particular, they went after him for comments he had made between his 2000 release from prison and his 2002 re-arrest, in which he had confessed to the 1995 abduction of a five-year old girl from Richland County and the subsequent sexual assault. They had no evidence that he had actually committed the crime, but they had his confession on-record, and at the very least, he had lied to investigators and caused them to waste valuable time by pursuing him as the suspect.
The felony, which carried a potential ten year sentence, was handed down shortly after his plea. He was sentenced to eight years, with time already served. Between the 2002 indictment and this, he had accrued nearly five years of time served.
This means that, between the time of his plea and now, Charles Wade Hampton has likely served his time and since been released. I only say "likely" because I legitimately can't find any record of him online or in the press since 2007. He would be sixty-five years old as of this episode's recording, and there's only a brief mention of him on the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division's sex offender registry. It hasn't been updated with any of his current information.
I think it's important to note this, not because I definitively believe him to be the person responsible for Kia Logan's abduction or murder. But, rather, because he has said some very damning things about himself and committed some criminal acts, none of which would paint him as a flattering neighbor.
It has been over a decade since there was any news or developments in the investigation, with it seeming to entering the pantheon of cold cases which will likely never be truly solved.
In 2009, the Malakia Logan Memorial Scholarship was established at her hometown's Lander University. Set in the middle of Greenwood itself, the reward fund started with a $2000 donation in her name. Then, when her family and former-sheriff Sam Riley got involved, they realized that the initial reward fund - which had been established for information - had remained untouched for around two decades. It had grown to a total of $20,328.68.
They all decided to put the money to good use, allowing education or nursing majors to receive the scholarship in times of hardship. As former Sheriff Riley and current Sheriff Tony Davis stated: "members of the community supported the Logan family when in need, and now those funds will support those in need with educational opportunities."
Police have long theorized that the abduction - and later murder - of Kia Logan was a crime of opportunity. A random child abduction that went "sour" - usually a byproduct of a victim choosing to fight back, or attempting to run away.
It's hard not to compare the crime to that of Tiffany Nelson, a nine-year old that went missing from Augusta, Georgia in June of 1994. She, also, went missing while riding her bike very close to her home, in a public setting. Tiffany, whose case I covered in the last episode, was found in a shallow grave roughly twenty miles away from where she had gone missing.
However, police and investigators have yet to find any more of Kia Logan's remains, and remain hopeful that those will turn up some day, allowing them to fully pursue a suspect or person-of-interest in the crimes.
If you know any information about this crime, you can contact the Greenwood County Sheriff's Department at (864) 942-8600. You can also contact the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division at (803) 737-9000.
As of this episode's recording, the abduction and murder of Malakia Zali Logan remains unresolved.