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HEADLINE NEWS

Murder shocks family, neighbors
ANNA BROWN
A crowd of solemn family members and friends of Raymond Davis stood in the yard of a mobile home on Ferguson Lane last Wednesday, watching as law officers and paramedics entered the thick brush.
The briars, tall grass and trees that had hidden Davis' body so well now served as a curtain between the crowd and the area where authorities were conducting an investigation.
After about an hour, public safety officers, medics and Union County Coroner William Holcombe came out with the covered body on a stretcher.
“Have mercy!” one woman called out.
“That's my brother,” said Roberta Davis, before she was overcome with tears and was hugged by other onlookers.
91-year-old Frances Dawkins, who lives on Ferguson Lane across from the site where the body was found said she was saddened by Davis' death and the troubled world in which we live.
 “The devil is loose,” she said. “It's so scary. God is trying to show us something and people won't listen. You try to talk to people about praying and they won't listen. They just look at you.”
Authorities said 61-year-old Davis argued with his stepson, Travelle Burros, before Burros killed Davis and hid his body in thick brush behind their home on 902 Union Boulevard.
Burros, 41, is being held in the Union County Jail without bond on a murder charge. An autopsy Friday at Newberry County Medical Center showed Davis died of blunt force trauma - he was beaten to death.
Davis was reported missing Tuesday by one of his sisters and Burros was named a “person of interest” in the case. Chief Sam White of the Union Public Safety Department said Burros was taken into custody Thursday morning without incident- he was spotted by an “observant citizen” at a vacant mobile home near Union County High School and was found hiding under a sink in the structure. White said Burros had had minor trouble with the law before, had no serious criminal record and had never served time in prison.
“It just doesn't make a lot of sense,” White said. “To get in an argument over something and someone lose their life is a waste. But unfortunately it happens all around the world.”
White said a neighbor talked with Davis on the phone earlier on Tuesday and Davis said he and Burros had been arguing. The neighbor could hear a disturbance in the house.
Later Davis' sister went to the house looking for him.
“She waited a little while on the front porch,” White said. “Then she notified 911.”
Officer Shane Petrie and Officer Dean Allen responded to the call. Davis' sister said she was worried her brother might be inside the house, injured. The officers entered the house and found blood in the kitchen.
Officers began searching for Davis around the house. Foothills Search and Rescue K-9 unit, which includes cadaver finding dogs, was called in. Someone reported seeing Burros putting something in a trash can on the side of the road earlier.
White said the sanitation department reported trash collected from the Union Boulevard area was still at the transfer station waiting to be collected to go to the county landfill.
Machines spread out 14 tons of trash for the dogs to go through.
“If it hadn't been for the equipment we would have had a hard time,” White said. “We were searching two places, there, and the house and the wooded area behind it.”
Davis' body was located around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday.
Neighbors described Davis as a good man who had formerly worked as a janitor at Sims Jr. High. They said his wife, Burros' mother, is in a nursing home.


(Posted April 21, 2014)

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