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AP-US-MISSING-GIRL-SOUTH-CAROLINA

South Carolina girl found dead, days after going missing

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Authorities say a 6-year-old South Carolina girl who disappeared earlier in the week after getting off her school bus has been found dead and that a homicide investigation has begun. Police in Cayce announced at a news conference Thursday that a body of a man also was recently found in the neighborhood where the child, Faye Marie Swetlik, disappeared on Monday. Authorities didn't give any evidence linking the two deaths, but said there is no danger to the public. They also announced no arrests have been made in the girl's death. Cayce is a community near the South Carolina capital city of Columbia.

PENCE-SOUTH CAROLINA

Pence pokes fun at slow caucus count while in South Carolina

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence has turned a South Carolina trip into an opportunity to rail on Democrats for their failed attempt to oust President Donald Trump from office and for having difficulty tabulating results following last week's Iowa caucuses. Pence was in the state Thursday for a dinner in his honor at The Citadel military college. He said to cheers and applause: “President Donald Trump was acquitted forever.” Pence also poked fun at the caucus chaos in Iowa. He said, “Friday, while the Democrats were still counting votes in Iowa, we were counting 225,000 new jobs in the month of January.”

AP-US-COLD-CASE-SERIAL-PODCAST-SUSPECT

DNA links dead criminal to a 1996 South Carolina cold case

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (AP) — A cold-case slaying in South Carolina has been closed, as police believe the killer died in a Louisiana jail more than a decade ago. Shawn Marie Neal was found strangled in her North Myrtle Beach condo in 1996. North Myrtle Beach police told news outlets Wednesday that DNA in the case was tested and was a match to Ronald Lee Moore, a convicted serial burglar from Baltimore County, Maryland. Detectives reopened the case in 2017. In 2014, the popular podcast “Serial” had named Moore as a possible suspect in the 1999 murder of Hae Min Lee in Baltimore.

PUBLIC UTILITY SALE

Public utility's future in SC to dominate Legislature's time

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina lawmakers are getting ready for more than a dozen complex meetings over the next month as they decide what to do with state-owned utility Santee Cooper. The first meeting took place Thursday before an audience comprising about 70 senators and House members and a few reporters. No questions were allowed as officials spent nearly two hours going over a 111-page report the South Carolina Department of Administration that was released Tuesday. The report detailed the best bid to buy Santee Cooper from NextEra Energy in Florida, a bid to manage it from Dominion Energy of Virginia or let Santee Cooper reform itself and stay a publicly-owned entity.

CANNONBALL-WOODEN BUOY

Police: Reported Civil War cannonball was actually a buoy

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — The digging of a swimming pool has revealed a potentially dangerous discovery. News outlets report workers thought they found a Civil War cannonball in Charleston on Wednesday afternoon. Police say it was actually a wooden buoy. The workers weren't completely misguided by the solid object. A worker in Missouri and a man digging in his backyard both discovered cannonballs over the past few years. Police say there were no major impacts by the discovery in Charleston. There weren't even road closures over the reportedly historic weapon. No word on what was done with the buoy.

AP-US-MOSQUE-VANDALIZED-ARREST

South Carolina teen arrested; accused of vandalizing mosque

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Police in Charleston, South Carolina, say an 18-year-old girl is in custody, accused of vandalizing a mosque. Charleston Police arrested Hailey Elizabeth Riddle on Thursday on a charge of malicious injury to a place of worship for alleged vandalism at the Islamic Center of Charleston on Jan. 30. It was unknown if she is represented by an attorney. Police say a tip led investigators to Riddle.