Employee Found Dead in Belk bathroom of Colombian Mall: According to South Carolina authorities, a woman passed away in a department store’s public restroom in Columbia, but it took four days before her body was discovered.
According to Columbia Police Department Deputy Police Chief Melron Kelly, the woman, who seemed to be in her early 60s, was discovered dead in a toilet stall at the Belk department store in Columbiana Centre, a retail center in the city’s northwest neighborhood, on Monday.
Police reported that a cleaning cart was seen outside the woman’s single-stall bathroom, which had a shut door, when she was discovered there. Police have not yet disclosed the woman’s identity, but the retailer on Wednesday revealed her identity to USA TODAY as Bessie Durham.
According to Kelly, the woman’s body was discovered after her relatives reported her missing to the police on Monday. According to the family, their mother was last seen leaving for work at the business on September 15, Kelly stated.
“At that same time, officers got a call from the store across town reporting a body that had been found,” Kelly said Wednesday. The woman’s death has not yet shown any indications of foul play, according to a preliminary inquiry, the Lexington County Coroner’s Office revealed.
According to Kelly, the store remained open for business for the four days the body was in the restroom. Kelly stated that detectives are looking into if anyone was careless. “We’re working with the store to find out what their process of shutting down and closing down the store is,” he said.
According to a spokesperson for Belk, Jessica Rohlik, Durham offered housekeeping services through a third-party business that also cleans the store.
BODY GOES UNNOTICED: A 63-year-old woman who worked as a janitor at the Belk department store was found dead inside the department store’s public bathroom. https://t.co/fBoR1DmXpR
— KWTX News 10 (@kwtx) September 21, 2022
“First and foremost, we send our deepest condolences to the family of Bessie Durham, who was found inside a family restroom at our Columbiana Centre location,” Rohlik said. “We are actively working to piece together what happened. Meanwhile, we have also made counselors available to associates seeking support.”
While police investigated the crime scene, the shop was closed for a while. On Wednesday, it was once more accessible to the public.