Janitor found dead in department store toilet; Was there four days

A South Carolina woman was found dead at work days after she was last seen by security cameras. Despite a search for the mother, the woman was found days later in the same department store pool where she was last admitted.

On Monday, September 19, Bessie Durham, a 63-year-old housekeeper, was found by her colleague in the restroom at the Belk department store in Columbiana Center around 7 a.m. An autopsy performed by Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher revealed the woman died of natural causes and had been dead for at least four days, changing September 15, according to WLTX.com.

A company security camera captured Durham’s final moments before entering the restroom. No one else entered after her, confirming Fisher’s belief that there was no foul play.

Belk confirmed Durham’s death in a press release, saying she was hired by KBS, a facility services company, to clean the store. She also worked at other stores throughout the mall.

“We are currently working with KBS to establish the details of what happened,” the statement continued. “We have also made advisors available to Belk and KBS employees seeking assistance.”

A spokesman for KBS said the company extends its “deepest condolences” to Bessie Durham’s family and friends.

“We have reached out to law enforcement to assist their investigations and to cooperate in any way we can,” the commentary continued. “KBS provides support and services to our other team members. We will have no further comment pending the results of an investigation into this matter.”

On Thursday, September 22, her son Bobby Johnson took to social media to share the family’s thoughts on her untimely death.

“The family is heartbroken at the loss of Bessie Durham,” he wrote on Facebook. “We are still in shock and ask God to provide peace during these unforeseen circumstances. The family asks that their wishes be respected and that they not respond to the media at this time. “

“As we mourn the loss of our loved one, we ask for your prayers and that you respect our privacy at this time,” he continued.

On Monday, the Columbia Police Department said it was responding to the missing person’s report, directing them to a neighborhood near Monticello Road and launching a search. But when their wheels started rolling, the colleague found Durham.

Deputy Chief of Police Melron Kelly of the Columbia Police Department said, “We were with the family to take a missing person’s report and when we were there and did a little investigating, we discovered the deceased person in the Belk.”

While Belk didn’t comment on how frequently employees work on their respective bathroom cleaning and inspection schedules, they released a statement expressing their condolences to the bereaved and that the company has provided advisory support to store employees.

Still, family and friends need answers.

A person named Wheeler said: “I was just there yesterday. … If I had gone to the bathroom, which I usually do a lot, you know, I don’t know, that’s just awful.”

“One wonders why the customers haven’t seen it and reported it, but you would think if she’s still on the watch the staff would know that and see where she was,” said another person who just walked by Stroman.

“There are many questions that need to be answered,” Beverly Stroman, a native of Colombia, told WISTV.

The inquest is ongoing and although the coroner said there appears to have been no foul play, criminal charges could still be brought into play based on the officers’ findings.

https://atlantablackstar.com/2022/09/25/woman-found-dead-in-department-store-restroom-days-after-she-went-missing/ Janitor found dead in department store toilet; Was there four days

James Brien

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