Six months after an Anderson County teen was found murdered, police say her mother was the "primary suspect."
Lavette Rucker reported her daughter, Asha, missing back in November. The teen's body was discovered later in some woods off Long Cane Road in Greenville County.
A coroner's report showed she had been strangled.
Then, just last month, Lavette Rucker was discovered dead of congestive heart failure.
Williamston Police Chief, Richard Inman, says his officers were putting together the final "puzzle pieces" to charge Rucker. "We were scheduled to interview her on Thursday. She died on Monday of that week," says Inman.
Chief Inman says the reason Rucker was not in custody is that they needed the "go ahead" from the solicitor's office that the evidence they had was enough. They believe the interview with Rucker was going to be the "final piece" they needed.
The chief says two main pieces of evidence led them to suspect Asha's mother. First, they say officers found soil and plant residue on Rucker's Dodge Magnum that matched the site where Asha's body was dumped.
Inman says a tire track found on the teen's body also matched the car. "She was very uncooperative from the beginning," says Inman.
Greenville County, who is also part of the investigation since Asha's body was found there, is disputing the chief's evidence. Deputies say the death investigation is still ongoing.
Rucker's attorney, Sarah Drawdy, says the department's claims are nothing more than attempts to "punish a dead woman."
"Williamston Police have had nothing from the beginning," Drawdy says. "Lavette Rucker was innocent and always will be."
Inman said he was releasing the information to satisfy public demand.
"The community wants to know there's not a murderer out on the loose," he said.