SOCASTEE, SC (WBTW) – Horry County Police arrested and charged four men with murder after two bodies were found inside a burned vehicle in the Socastee area Friday morning.
Arrest warrants show David Lee Cook, 44, is charged with two counts of murder, first degree arson, and possession of a narcotic in schedule I(B)(C), LSD and schedule II for a second offense. These warrants also says Cook “was contracted and compensated for his role/involvement in the incident that included the murder and arson of the victims” and “at no time did he intend on or attempt to provide aid to the victim or contact police.”
According to arrest warrants, William David Tatum, 37, is charged with two counts of murder, first degree arson, possession of other controlled substance in schedule I to V, and trafficking in heroin, morphine, etc. 4 grams or more but less than 14 grams. The warrants say Tatum participated in the murder by “being present during the stabbing of two victims, providing lookout and cleanup responsibilities” and “procuring an accelerant for the purpose of setting fire to the vehicle which contained the two victims.”
Warrants also show Zachary Kane Stell, 31, is charged with two counts of murder and first degree arson. Warrants for Stell state Stell, and Cook, “did, with malice aforethought, lure the victims to an unknown location where they were shot multiple times.” These warrants also say Stell was given money “to purchase gasoline in order to dispose of the vehicle and the victims.”
Michael Wixted Faile, 37, is charged with two counts of murder and trafficking in heroin, morphine, etc. 28 grams or more, according to warrants. According to warrants, Faile “was contracted and compensated to burn and dispose of the two unidentified victims and the vehicle.”
Cook was booked into the J. Reuben Long Detention Center around 1 a.m. on Saturday, according to JRLDC booking records. He remains in the center. Booking records also show Cook was previously booked on June 30 for possession of less than one gram of ice, crank, or crack cocaine.
Booking records show Tatum was booked into the JRLDC around 6:45 p.m. on Friday. He remains in the center. Tatum was previously booked on November 11, 2017 for simple possession of marijuana and trespassing on another’s land without permission.
According to booking records, Stell was booked into the JRLDC around midnight on Sunday. Booking records also show Stell has been booked four other times since August 2017: June 30, May 28, March 27, and August 30.
Faile was booked into the JRLDC around 3 a.m. on Sunday, booking records show. He remains in the center.
Several other people have pending drug charges based on evidence found in the investigation. Charges will be updated as new warrants are obtained.
According to Capt. John Harrelson, HCPD is working with the coroner’s office and MUSC to identify the bodies. The victims’ names will be released once family is notified.
The investigation began around 7 a.m. Friday morning after a torched vehicle was discovered on Butler Road, just off Enterprise Road in Socastee, south of Myrtle Beach.
Two victims were discovered inside the burned vehicle, Capt. Harrelson confirms.
The autopsies were completed on Saturday afternoon, showing both victims were male. The autopsies did not provide any other details that could be used to identify the victims. Anthropology and Odontology exams are being scheduled for the coming weeks.
The manner of death is homicide in both cases. Cause of death is being withheld for now as this is an active investigation, police say.