Today the US Attorney in Columbia announced indictments against former Union County Sheriff Howard Wells and two other current and former county elected officials.
The full story of the indictments can be found at Union Daily News
Wells gained national prominence while solving the drownings of Michael and Alex Smith in a local recreational lake in the summer of 1995. Susan Smith was eventually sentenced to life in prison for the murders, after initially claiming she was the victim of a carjacking by an African-American male.
In September 1996, seven people, including four children, drowned at the John D. Long Lake in Union County on a visit to view a memorial erected to the Smith children.
Union has always been a kind of rough-and-tumble small town, not unlike many in the rural south. I grew up there, with court-ordered school desegregation taking effect in my 9th grade year at Union High School. Much of the textile industry, which provided jobs for many residents, has moved offshore, leaving unemployment high and racial tensions always near the surface. In recent years, there have been some low-paying jobs created with the coming of distribution centers for Disney and Dollar General Stores, but the economy is still in bad shape compared to much of the rest of SC and the country.
This latest news breaking today from Columbia can not bode well for the folks there.