Authorities in South Carolina this evening located what they believe is the body of Nikki McPhatter, the 30-year-old Charlotte woman last heard from May 6 after she traveled to Columbia to visit an acquaintance.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department hours later arrested the man, Theodore “Teddy” Roosevelt Manning IV of Gadsden, S.C., and charged him with murder.
The developments were announced by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Rodney Monroe at a 9 p.m. news conference.
Monroe declined to give specifics of the investigation but said McPhatter’s body was found along with her car in a remote part of Fairfield County, which is just north of Richland County. Monroe said the body, which had not be positively identified, indicated that the victim had been dead for an extended period.
“All indications are that the body is Miss McPhatter,” he said.
McPhatter’s car was found around 5 p.m. Friday and Manning was taken into custody two hours later. Monroe said tips from the public helped investigators find the body and arrest a suspect.
“We can’t thank the public enough for its interest and the media for keeping this case out there in the public eye,” he said.
Earlier today, a Charlotte foundation pledged $5,000 for the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for McPhatter’s disappearance, along with an additional $1,000 for information leading to her whereabouts.
Monroe said the reward money played no role in Manning’s arrest.
Monroe said investigators believe McPhatter traveled to the Columbia area to visit Manning, 29. He said investigators also believe Manning had a “direct connection” to the images captured on a bank surveillance camera that showed two men trying to use McPhatter’s ATM card hours after she telephoned a friend in Charlotte to say her car had run out of gas.
Police last week issued a public notice that they wanted to locate a man who went by the name “Teddy,” whom they later questioned. They said at the time that “Teddy” was not a suspect or person of interest.
The Richland County Sheriff’s Department has called a press conference for 1 p.m. Saturday.