Editor’s note: Some readers may find the content in this story disturbing.
CONWAY, S.C. (WBTW) — Opening statements and testimony began Tuesday morning in Horry County Circuit Court in the trial of a woman accused of hiding her murdered husband’s body.
Hubert “Lee” Clodfelter of Murrells Inlet was murdered between 2017 and 2018, and his body was found in June 2019 underneath his mobile home at the Myrtle Beach Travel Park. The Horry County Coroner’s Office identified his remains using dental records.
His wife, Irene Clodfelter, is charged as an accessory in connection with his death, but police have not yet charged anyone with his murder.
Hubert Clodfelter’s daughter, Karen Chappell, who along with her sister found their dad’s body, was the first witness to testify on Tuesday.
Chappell filed a missing person’s report on March 14, 2019. She and her sister, Lynda Clinger, met with Georgetown County investigators in June 2019 when the sisters returned to the Myrtle Beach area to search.
Chappell testified that she and Clinger went to the home and said it was dirty with dog pee pads everywhere. They were unable to find Hubert Clodfelter’s clothes, but they eventually found his body wrapped in plastic in a shed under the porch as they were about to leave.
At first, she said they thought what they had found was dirt, but they cut into it and saw skin, and called 911.
“Lynda cut it, she screamed and said it was skin,” Chappell said. “She works in the health industry. We ran out upstairs and called 911 and we were jus tin shock. I don’t know what else to say.”
Horry County police investigator Edward Gordon also testified Tuesday morning about what he saw when he went to the travel park in the 10000 block of N. Kings Highway where Hubert Clodfelter’s body was found in June 2019.
He said he met Clodfelter’s daughters there and that he cut open a plastic bag until he found what he believed to be a hand. That’s when he called his supervisors and taped off the scene.
Horry County police Cpl. Jill Domogauer also testified Tuesday morning, describing the area where the body was found as having a dirt floor. She also said she noticed an odor in the crawl space as she got closer to the bag.
She said she recognized the odor as a decomposed body based on having more than two decades of experience in law enforcement and being at more than 500 crime scenes.
She said she did not remove the remains from the bag because the smell would have been worse. She also testified that she was not sure how intact the body might be and didn’t want anything to fall out or get into the bag before the remains could be removed and taken for an autopsy.
Domogauer also testified that body was in thick, black bags with tape wrapped multiple times around the body. She said investigators removed several items from the scene, including a sledgehammer.
Authorities have never identified a murder weapon.
EDITOR’S NOTE: News13 has a reporter in the courtroom and will provide updates as the trial progresses.