A homeowner in Anderson, South Carolina, was arrested Sunday after foul-smelling water from his well led authorities to the body of a woman who had been missing for weeks.
Perry Pruitt, 54, was charged with unlawful removal of a dead body following Saturday’s discovery of 57-year-old Patricia Freeman’s body inside the 40-foot well on Pruitt’s property. Patricia’s brother, John Freeman, said he’d suspected that Pruitt was involved in his sister’s disappearance due to the pair’s on and off relationship.
“I was flabbergasted,” John said. “I said how could he. I felt angry, disappointed, sad."
Pruitt’s neighbor, Tony Johnson, reportedly approached him about the water and was told that it was “stagnant.” After numerous attempts to fix the tainted water, Johnson asked Pruitt to take a sample of the well water so it could be tested. This began a confrontation between the two men, leading to Johnson calling the police.
“Once the officer saw how he (Pruitt) was acting he called detectives,” Johnson said. A few hours later, detectives discovered Patricia’s body in the well.
“I was speechless. My wife was devastated,” he said. “It's just disturbing.” Johnson and his family did not consume the foul water, but had taken showers in it.
John said he’s thankful that Johnson was there to play a crucial role in finding his sister. “He is a Godsend,” the victim's brother said. “I have made a friend for life.” John allegedly had not seen his sister since September, despite reporting her missing on Feb. 6.
Pruitt was released from jail after posting bond. An autopsy concluded that Patricia’s cause of death was a broken neck.