Brenda Bucy broke down in tears after shocking testimony in court revealed what may have happened to her daughter, who has been missing for more than four months.
Bucy and nine other family members learned that 40-year-old Kimberly Parrish’s body may never be found. At a hearing Tuesday for the man accused of murdering her, an investigator read a cellmate’s recollection of a conversation with suspect Kenneth Cutter.
“He stated what he was in jail for and that he said that he fed her body to alligators,” Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Investigator Craig Davis told the court, paraphrasing from the written statement.
Cutter has been charged with murder in the disappearance of Parrish, a married mother of two missing since December.
Not long after the testimony that clearly stunned not only Parrish’s family but the friends and family of Cutter as well, defense attorney Peggy Hinds informed the court the defense would not be making a motion for the case to be dismissed.
Hinds briefly questioned Davis about the inmate’s statement that Cutter used the plural “we” when describing what happened to Parrish. Davis acknowledged that term had been used in the inmate’s statement.
Orangeburg County Chief Magistrate Derrick Dash ordered the case moved to Circuit Court for adjudication. The case will now be put on the General Sessions docket where it could be heard within a year.
Cutter had applied for a preliminary hearing, in which a magistrate decides if a charge has enough merit to proceed to trial.
In a case that drew statewide attention, the 37-year-old Cutter was charged with murder a week after Parrish was reported missing on Dec. 21.
The home nurse was last seen in her pink uniform scrubs picking up her paycheck in Richland County. Prosecutors say she never cashed it.
During the cold, rainy week following Christmas, massive searches were conducted in the heavily wooded area surrounding Cutter’s manufactured home positioned about a mile from the Edisto River in Wolfton. Investigators had found a bloody nurse’s uniform at an unoccupied residence across the street.
Authorities have stated enough blood was found inside that residence to determine that Parrish could no longer be alive.
First Judicial Circuit prosecutor Don Sorenson asked Davis how the case led to the man whose only previous criminal charge occurred when he was accused of setting a porch on fire as a 19-year-old.
Davis told the court the case left Columbia and came to Orangeburg County a day after Parrish was reported missing. Authorities learned that at least the woman’s cell phone was in western Orangeburg County after it pinged off of a tower in Neeses.
Richland County investigators came into Orangeburg County where they confronted Cutter, who they say was at minimum an acquaintance of Parrish and possibly a lover.
At that time, they found Cutter had scratches on his face and arms, Davis said. Cutter explained the injuries by saying a burn barrel had exploded.
Across from the home Cutter shared with his mother, investigators spotted a pair of bloody pink scrubs with kitty cat designs on them.
“Also, there appeared to be multiple stab wounds in the pants,” Davis said.
DNA swabs from Bucy and the pants were tested. An approximately 99.9 percent match was found between the samples, Davis said.
Searching inside the residence where the pants were found, investigators discovered an area inside the home that had been cleaned with bleach and believed to have been the location of what alternately has been described as a carpet or rug. That carpet was missing but witnesses at a county trash dump site told authorities they saw a white male dropping off a portion of rolled-up carpet, Davis said.
Parrish’s 2000 Chevrolet was found less than two miles from Cutter’s residence after witnesses reported seeing the Wolfton man driving it the day the West Columbia woman was reported missing, Davis said.
Sorenson asked if forensic investigators found any evidence that would shed light on what happened to the woman. Davis said nothing was found in Parrish’s car.
However, witnesses told authorities Cutter sometimes drove his mother’s car. That car was gone over by both investigators and a cadaver dog, which signaled to his handlers they may want to take a closer look.
“And what did that indicate?” Sorenson said.
“That there was the possibility of a deceased body,” Davis said.
Then came the bombshell testimony that Cutter had told a fellow inmate he had fed the woman’s body to alligators.
“And at this time, four months later, has Mrs. Parrish’s body been found?” Sorenson asked.
“No, sir,” Davis said.
“Any activity that would indicate she’s still alive?”
“No activity, no phone, no banking activity, no, sir.”
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org or 803-533-5516.