The Anderson County Coroner‘s Office has confirmed that the body found in a wooded area Wednesday is that of a missing convenience store owner. The office said Thursday that 53-year-old Chandrakant “C.J.” Patel died from a gunshot wound to the head.
Investigators had been trying to find Patel since July 1. He was the manager of the Exxon gas station on Clemson Boulevard. He told a clerk he was leaving for a couple of hours, but he never returned. Deputies found the body about 200 yards down a small drive off Big Water Road near Highway 29 South.
Investigators previously announced on Monday that three people had been charged in connection to the case. Kyndra Leann Howell, 22, Jeremiah Christian Johnson, 29, and Zachary Demond Gantt, 17, face kidnapping charges. Investigators said at the time that Howell, Johnson and Gantt were charged because C.J. Patel was held against his will for a short time in a Homeland Park residence.
Investigators said Patel was seen on surveillance video being taken at a home on Jerry Drive that Howell rents. Several others are seen going in and out of the house, but Patel is never seen leaving. The video also shows a car pull up behind the home.
Deputies are waiting for the results of an autopsy before deciding whether more charges will be filed. Patel’s car, a black 2006 Honda, was located on Wooten Road in Fair Play on July 3. An autopsy was scheduled to be performed Thursday at 10 a.m.