Sister of long-missing grandma found remains near home

Human remains have been found near the South Carolina home of a 49-year-old grandma reported missing nearly five months ago by her ex — with her sister even finding her “jawbone between my feet.”

Melissa Aguilar was reported missing on Aug. 18 after leaving her Holly Hill home following an argument with her former beau, WIS-TV reported, citing investigators with the local sheriff’s office.

Her sister, Sarah Shipman, told WAFB that officials told her last week that remains were found less than a half-mile from the house – though a positive identification had yet to be made.

She said she then made a chilling discovery when she went to the wooded site along with Aguilar’s two daughters, Brittany Ranew and Shanna Brown.

“As I was hugging my nieces and consoling them, I looked down and found my sister’s jawbone between my feet,” the shocked sister told WAFB.

South Carolina mom Melissa Aguilar was reported missing by her ex-boyfriend in August — and human remain have now been found close to her home. Family Handout

“We know her smile, and that smile was in the dirt, and you don’t unsee that, and you know someone’s smile.”

Shipman rushed her nieces from the area, then returned to examine the remains more closely.

“I found her dental work and close to 20 more pieces of my sister that they had walked over and left behind,” she told WAFB, referring to law enforcement.

Missing-person poster for Melissa Aguilar. Family Handout

The family had harsh words for the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office after the discovery of the remains, which have been sent to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for processing and identification.

Shipman said that the family was assured that the remains would be collected but that when they returned to the scene Tuesday they found what appeared to be additional bones and a tooth.

“I knew, there was something telling me there was more,” she told WAFB.

The family was shocked to walk across bones they believe belonged to their loved one. WCSC

Shipman said the family has been “traumatized” by the lack of care from the sheriff’s office, which they alleged botched the investigation.

“If the sheriff’s department is not capable of doing a job correctly, leaving my sister behind, they should own up and call in outside resources,” she told the outlet.

The Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to the outlet about the family’s allegations.

Melissa Aguilar Family Handout

Sheriff Leroy Ravenell told WAFB in an email that “the investigation into Ms. Melissa Aguilar going missing is an active and ongoing investigation.

“We are still asking the public for any information regarding Ms. Aguilar. If you have any information in this case, you are urged to contact us,” he added.

Meanwhile, the family praised the coroner’s office and thanked Deputy Coroner Valencia Golden for responding to the scene, where the official said some clothing also was found in the woods.

“She’s the light in our darkness, she’s putting everything together and she’s being there for us when nobody else is,” one of the daughters, Brown, told WIS-TV.

“I looked down and found my sister’s jawbone between my feet,” said Aguilar’s sister, Sarah Shipman. WCSC

Coroner Samuetta Marshall said the remains were scattered over “a large area,” about 30 feet, just off Fourwind Road.

An outside forensic anthropologist brought in to help in the probe has so far gathered more than 90% of the skeletal remains, the outlet reported.

As the family awaits the identification, Brown said they have many questions about the mystery.

“I know that she (Aguilar) wouldn’t walk off,” she told WIS-TV. The family last saw Aguilar the day before she was reported missing by her ex, who was not identified in the reports.

Melissa Aguilar, right, was last seen by her family on Aug. 17. Family Handout

“Because the last conversation me and her had the day before this happened, we were talking about my sister’s wedding, and her dress that she had bought, and then we were talking about my wedding,” she said.

“So nothing’s adding up at all. And I just want answers, and I don’t think I’ll honestly ever have closure, but it’s worth a shot,” Brown added.

Melissa Aguilar, Family Handout

Ranew described their mom as the glue of the entire family.

Brown told the outlet there are no words to describe the pain of losing a mom.

“It’s hard to list all the amazing things about her because she was so much more than anyone could describe,” she told WAFB.

“My 6-year-old is constantly asking me, ‘Why is Mamie on the news?’ and then my 1-year-old is not going to remember her. I’m going to have to remind him of who she was. She’s going to miss my wedding day,” she said.


Written by SaleemBaloch

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