In Rita Shuler’s newest book, “The Lowcountry Murder of Gwendolyn Elaine Fogle,” the retired forensics photographer notes how she and a Walterboro Police investigator work together to finally crack a case that sat unsolved for 37 years.
On May 30, 1978, Fogle’s case and its gruesome crime scene photos came across Shuler’s desk at the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division. The young special agent had only been with SLED for seven months when she learned about Elaine Fogle, a 26-year-old medical assistant who had been attacked, sexually assaulted, and murdered in her South Lemacks Street home.
Three days earlier, Fogle’s roommate came home to find Fogle lying on the floor at an odd angle in front of the couch. Blood was everywhere. A table was upended. A rear window smashed.
“A strange sensitivity and visual moment came over me as I viewed the photographs,” Shuler writes. “ … Her jeans were missing, but strangely both of her shoes were still on. Her shoes were Sperry Top-Sider loafers, just like I wore. … My biggest shock was when I viewed the metal fire poker around her neck. I had exactly that same kind of fire poker on my fireplace in my home.”
The two women were similar in age. Both were born and raised in Orangeburg. Each had pursued a career in the medical field.
“Elaine’s case undeniably hit home with me, to a point that I had an eerie feeling of personal connection with her.”
Shuler details that connection with the case, the Fogle family and the Colleton County community as she details how she and others worked doggedly in their pursuit of justice for Elaine.
“… A cold case never dies; it’s just sleeping,” Shuler notes. “…There is always hope that one day that link will be found.”
And it was. In 2015.
But you will have to read the book to find out more.
In researching her book, Shuler tapped local and state law enforcement, Fogle’s family, old press clippings, and prosecutors from our office to include: Solicitor Duffie Stone, Deputy Solicitor Sean Thornton, retired Assistant Solicitor Steve Knight, Assistant Solicitor and Career Criminal prosecutor Tameaka Legette, and our communications team.
Download “Twisted Justice,” featured On Case with Paula Zahn in December 2019.