A retired United Methodist minister who served in Orangeburg County has died, allegedly after being abused and neglected by his son and daughter-in-law.

The Rev. James Boyd Chewning was a “wonderful man,” said the Rev. Sandra Whetsell, pastor of New Hope United Methodist Church in Rowesville.

“He was loved by everyone at The Oaks and St. Paul’s” UMC in Orangeburg, Whetsell said.

“Everywhere he went, he was well-loved. He was a kind and caring man,” she said.

Donald Ralph Chewning, 51, and Kathy Laine Chewning, 48, have each been charged with abuse and neglect of a vulnerable adult resulting in death. Rev. Chewning was living in Saluda County with his son.

A SLED warrant alleges Rev. Chewning was abused earlier this week, and was “battered, restrained to a bed using zip ties and rags and duct tape were used to cover the victim’s mouth and eyes.”

If convicted, Donald and Kathy Chewning could face up to 30 years in prison.

The 79-year-old Rev. Chewning had been a minister for more than 50 years, Whetsell said. He retired in 2004.

When Whetsell joined the ministry in 2013, Chewning went to New Hope every Sunday to help her and provide advice.

“He was a wonderful, wonderful mentor and guide,” Whetsell said.

Once he joined her when she went to take communion to a person who was dying.

“He was a wonderful, wonderful, kind Christian man. He knew the Lord and the Lord knew Boyd,” Whetsell said.

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