After Molly's death, investigating agents delivered a report to Charleston County Coroner Susan Chewning: The circumstances were "most consistent" with suicide.
In the following investigation experts testified that Wrazen didn't have gunpowder on her hands and also that the fatal bullet was fired upward into her chest, extremely rare in suicides. Deliberating for only 40 minutes, the six-member jury determined Wrazen was a victim of homicide, but declined an option to name a suspect.
On the day of the ruling, the lead agent investigating Wrazen's death left his job. Two of his superiors were issued reprimands for not following proper procedures. Hembree was placed on paid leave, but now (as of this writing in November of 2005) is back to work.
The attorney general could file charges, decline to do so, or ask for further investigation.
One of Molly's friends: "One of the last times I spoke to Molly, she, in fact, had said to me Justin was stalking her, he was coming to her pharmacy all the time, and he was making it difficult to make a break with him. This relationship was an ongoing problem, particularly on his side. But, in typical Molly, she said, 'I am just so afraid he is going to do something to hurt himself.' That just shows you the type of person she was - always thinking about someone else and someone else's well-being."
Molly Wrazen, 28, of Mount Pleasant, S.C., formerly of Laflin, Pa., died Monday, November 3, 2003. Her body was discovered at the residence of an acquaintance. Born September 12, 1975, in Kingston, Pa., a daughter of Robert J. and Ann M. Sharkey Wrazen. She resided most of her life in Laflin, Pa. She was a graduate of Bishop Hoban High School, Class of 1993 and received her degree in pharmacy from the University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy in 1998, where she earned Dean's List recognition. A licensed pharmacist, she was employed by Kmart and CVS Pharmacies in South Carolina. She was a member of the SC Pharmacological Society and the Chi Omega Sorority of the University of Pittsburgh. Surviving, in addition to her parents are a sister: Kerry Wrazen of Columbia, S.C.; a brother, Jason Wrazen of Minneapolis, MN; paternal grandmother, Agnes Wrazen of Laurel, MD.
Who murdered Molly Wrazen in Mt. Pleasant, South Carolina? www.mollywrazen.com
TO THE FAMILY: I am so sorry.
[SEARCH THIS BLOG FOR ALL MOLLY WRAZEN POSTS:
Officer back to full duty as shooting probe continues
The Associated Press
November 03, 2005
A narcotics officer placed on administrative leave while the death of his former fiancee is investigated is back on full duty with the Mount Pleasant Police Department.
"I think 23 months of administrative leave is ample time to investigate and reach a decision," Chief Roddy Perry wrote in an e-mail to Mac Burdette, the town administrator.
Narcotics officer Justin Hembree returned to full duty last week.
Two years ago Wednesday, Hembree found 28-year-old Molly Wrazen's body in the bedroom of his apartment. She had been shot once in the chest with Hembree's gun.
Investigators first treated the death as a suicide, but her friends and family later hired their own lawyer and investigators.
A coroner's jury later determined Wrazen's death was a homicide. The inquest found failings in the State Law Enforcement Division investigation and as a result, one investigator was fired and others reprimanded.
A state-federal task force is now investigating and last summer, a new report was delivered to state Attorney General Henry McMaster.
In an e-mail released to The (Charleston) Post and Courier, Perry wrote he was unofficially told by those near the investigation that Hembree passed three polygraphs, the victim had gunshot residue on her hand and nothing new had been uncovered indicating involvement by the officer.
Hembree's attorney Andy Savage said there is no reason he should not return to duty.
"I know of nothing that has been uncovered, other than emotional statements saying that he was involved," Savage said.
There is no deadline for finishing the investigation, which centers on the death and initial SLED investigation, McMaster's spokesman Trey Walker said.
Prosecutors have not briefed Perry on the particulars, he added.
Wrazen, who worked as a pharmacist, broke her relationship with Hembree days before her death and was preparing to move to Florida where she had found another job, according to friends and family.
They wondered why the gun was found cocked and why she would take her life after making such plans.
After her death, it was discovered Wrazen was buying painkillers over the Internet and that some were sent to Hembree's apartment.
Investigators haven't said why she was buying the pills. An autopsy found she wasn't taking any painkillers.
The family's attorney, Tim Kulp, wondered whether the police weren't acting too soon.
"Hembree's return to full duty would be confusing to our community," he said, noting town officials have repeatedly said they would allow state authorities to handle the matter.
[tags police officer involved domestic violence, oidv, intimate partner violence, abuse, law enforcement, cop, deputy, public safety, homicide, lethal fatality, fatalities, murder, SOUTH CAROLINA state politics, deputy, teflon, usur, unsolved unresolved, alleged suicide]