ST. MATTHEWS — A mother’s cries of pain were answered with a smile by two brothers accused of killing her daughter.
“Tell me where my baby is at, tell me where my baby is at!” cried a woman identified as the mother of 17-year-old Kymmara Randolph, the Orangeburg teenager reported missing last week.
“Don’t sit there smiling. … I can’t take any more,” the woman said, leaning on a relative for comfort.
The woman and several others were present during Thursday’s formal charging of Jerry McKnight, 45, and Bryant McKnight, 32. The St. Matthews men are accused of murdering Randolph, although authorities say they continue to search for her body.
As they were taken under heavy guard from a St. Matthews courtroom, the men smiled as the woman cried out asking for the location of her daughter.
The distraught woman left the courtroom in the arms of relatives.
Calhoun County Sheriff Thomas Summers consoled the woman with promises the search would go on.
“I’m going to find her,” he told the woman.
Summers said more arrests are expected.
The case began in Orangeburg County on Feb. 13 when the teen was initially reported missing.
In that first contact with law enforcement, an acquaintance told Orangeburg County investigators Randolph was last seen leaving her residence with a St. Matthews man.
St. Matthews police checked the man’s residence but found it to be abandoned, the report states. The teenager was entered into the National Crime Information Center system.
Orangeburg County investigators turned the case over to Calhoun County when it was determined the teen had been seen at a residence in that jurisdiction.
Summers said his detectives have been investigating the case since Tuesday.
Since that time, authorities have been able to determine that Randolph was taken to Calhoun County where she was murdered.
“We’ve put a huge part of the puzzle together, but a few pieces are still missing,” Summers said. “But we feel confident we have enough for a murder charge.”
The sheriff said a timeline has been built through the investigation that shows Randolph was picked up under the pretense she was attending a party. However, investigators feel certain she was killed within an hour of her being picked up in Orangeburg.
Investigators believe Randolph was silenced because she caused one subject to be robbed.
“The sad part is they picked a 17-year-old child to blame for the retaliation, and they picked the wrong people,” Summers said.
Jerry McKnight was picked up around midnight Wednesday at an Orangeburg motel with the assistance of the State Law Enforcement Division and Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office.
Bryant McKnight was arrested at about the same time in Williston with the help of Barnwell County Sheriff’s deputies.
The two arrived at the courtroom in a caged transport vehicle. Traffic was blocked until the McKnights were secured inside.
Jonathan McKnight, 20, of St. Matthews, has been charged with accessory after the fact of murder in the case. Bond was set Thursday at $75,000.
Jerry McKnight’s 20-year-old son, also named Jerry, was sentenced last month to 11 years in prison for his involvement in the June 2012 murder of an Orangeburg woman. She died after a barrage of bullets were directed at her cleaning van that was cut off in traffic by multiple gunmen.
As of late Thursday, investigators know the undisclosed location where Randolph was killed. But they don’t know where she was taken.
Ground and air searches have been conducted in Orangeburg and Calhoun counties in an effort to bring the teen’s body home.
“We’ve had the (SLED) helicopter up twice,” Summers said. “We’re following every lead we can.”
Summers said the search has been ongoing since they became involved. All available manpower was sent out again Thursday.
“It’s everybody,” he said. “The entire agency is working around the clock.”
The search will continue into Thursday night. Summers said a mother is out there waiting for her daughter to be brought home.
“It gets dark, another night ... another night,” the woman cried as she was taken from the courtroom.
Anyone with any information on the case is asked to contact the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office at 803-874-2741 or Crimestopppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC.
Contact the writer: 803-533-5516 and rwalker@timesanddemocrat. Follow Walker on Twitter at @rwalkertandd for insight on the cops beat.