The Index-Journal from Greenwood, South Carolina on November 7, 1994 · Page 5
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The Index-Journal from Greenwood, South Carolina · Page 5

Greenwood, South Carolina
Issue Date:
Monday, November 7, 1994
Page 5
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Mystery (Continued from page 1) tcctive work, weak leads, hundreds of phone calls and letters (including a few from some obvious whackos and goldiggers) and being spotlighted on television's Unsolved Mysteries," Kidd is no closer to finding someone who has legal claim to the small fortune. And time is running out. According to probate law, in February of '95 Rice's money will "escheat" or become die property of the state of South Carolina. Kidd has, however, like a budding Sherlock Holmes, been true to a probate judges' charge to "diligently search for heirs" for the deceased. Me also has strong opinions on what could' ve happened to die 72 year old man he now calls "Uncle Walter." "After two years I feel like I know Walter Rice. From what I've uncovered he kept to himself and when he did come into contact with people he stretched die truth. It was almost like he created Uiis fantasy world to live in. It's to the point now where I know h;s family tree," says Kidd. As Matlock would say "There are really few hard facts in Rice's case." Walter Rice moved to McCormick from Connecticut in 1990 and bought die lot and the trailer. Rice's body was discovered in his trailer on Oak Street, not half a mile from downtown McCormick, on April 5, 1993. The tricky part, according to die coroner, is that Rice reportedly died of natural causes on Feb. 1, 1992. From here the case starts to sound like a Mystery Movie of the Week. McCormick CPW crews pulled the meter off Rice's trailer on Feb. 13 because his January power bill was not paid, thinking the trailer had been abandoned. "In April, McCormick's City Police Department received an anonymous phone call from a female who said her friend had broken into Rice's trailer and had seen Rice's bodv. We did find a front window busted out by a chair on the trailer," says Kidd going over the facts like Perry Mason summing up. "The lady said she just figured someone else would discover Hie body sooner or later. But it began to stay on her mind. When two months passed with no discovery she knew she had to call," adds Kidd. Kidd now believes Quit a Jan. 25 wreck Rice had in Greenwood may be key to cracking the case. "According to the Greenwood police officer's report, Rice refused to be taken to the hospital. I think he may have had internal injuries that killed him a week later," says Kidd. But what about the MONEY? And who should get it? Kidd notes he collected close to $138,000 from four banks across die Soudieast. "He had a $100,00o CD in Wilmington, Delaware that was about ready to roll over. There was $10,000 in an individual retirement account in Hartford, Connecticut," notes Kidd. The oilier bizarre twist in the story is that Rice, born in Abbeville County, was by trade a cook, not (lie kind of occupation that could generate thousands of dollars. "He lived very frugally and saved all his money. He had free room and board at the inn he worked at in Connecticut. He had very little personal items in the trailer. No letters, No Christmas cards. The only tiling we found were receipts and handwritten Marker The Index-Journal, Greenwood, S.C., Mop., November 7, 1994 5 fl WALTER RICE m. The grave marker of McCormick's mystery man tells little about the man whose entire life seems to have been a mystery. Rice's body was discoverd in McCormick in April of 1993, around 14 months after his apparent death. McCormick's Probate Judge Ronnie Kidd continues to look for heirs to Rice's small fortune. (Staff photo by Jim Long) I ELECT EDITH S. CHILDS Tuesday, Nov. 8, 1994 Greenwood District 50 Board ot Trustees District 4 pa,d Poi Ad JULY 6. 1920 FEB. I, 1992 account numbers," says bank Kidd. After an episode of "Unsolved Mysteries" featuring Kidd aired he received a flood of phone calls and letters. The producers of "Mysteries" sent Kidd a computerized, detailed list of the 600 phone calls it received at its 1-800 number from almost every state in the union and Canada earlier this year. "Lately I've received another flurry of letters and calls. I think they must have aired a rerun of the episode. Some just insist I send them the money. Some of them get really angry," says Kidd laughing. One persistent caller and writer even sent a badly doctored birth certificate, complete with erasures, trying to prove she was Rice's daughter. "One white man claimed to be a relative till I told him Mr. Rice was a black man. If there is a real heir out there when I talk to them or read their letter it will be as plain as the nose on your face. With all the exposure this case has received I just don't believe there is anyone out there. Somewhere in all this there should' ve been a relative," says Kidd. Kidd arranged for Rice's burial and used some of the money to buy a grave marker. "I wanted to make sure he had a christian funeral. No one attended except the preacher and die funeral home director," notes Reason 1 to vote for Jennings McAbee: I EXPERIENCE! Whether you're a doctor, a mechanic, a salesman, or a technician, nothing beats experience when it comes to getting the job done right. And the same is true for the state legislature. Jennings McAbee puts his 20 years experience to work for us every day of the year. And our community Is a better place because of It! On November 8th, C3St 3fl INDEPENDENT VOTE for Jennings McAbee Paid Political Ad 1" MAY p Grants "-jigA certificate ot 'ppraisal accompanist tvery diamond md precious gem purchM.f 525 Montague Ave., Greenwood ' -i Monday-Saturday 10-6 Closed Sunday Kidd. Rice's final resting place is in a lonely country cemetery not 200 yards from the McCormick County Sheriff's Department. Back at his trailer the yellow police tape that once read "Crime Scene Do Not Cross" now is weathered white and sags and whistles like a kite tail in the Autumn breeze. The secrets of Walter Rice's life rest silently with him, his only heir the stale of South Carolina, his only accquiantance a man who never even met him, Ronnie Kidd. ELECTION DAY SALE 1 on all Regular Price Merchandise AND-TAKE 11 W on all Red Ticketed Merchandise All Promotional Items. Easy Spirit & Liz Claiborne Handbags Culp's Shoes 1415 Montague Street, Greenwood 229 - 3538 TUESDAY ONLY Crosscreek Mall TION DAY o v VOTE FOR THE CLOTHING LINGERIE SHOE CLOTHING ACCESSORY OR HOME FASHIONS ITEM OF YOUR CHOICE OPEN TUESDAY 10AM UK E 4Utc?lriLj Crosse rack Mall OFF -1 ANY SINGLE 1:1 JrillWildilMjtl FALL CLOTHING, SHOE, LINGERIE, CLOTHING ACCESSORY OR HOME FASHIONS ITEM Excludes Wonderbra, Paradox. Reebok. Keds, Timberland, Easy Spirit, Stride Rite, Savane, Tommy Hilfiger, all shoes, cosmetics, fragrances, Dooney & Bourke, Liz Claiborne & Silk Reflections Hose, Jockey, Jodee, electrical appliances, all collectibles, "C&F quilt promotion, china, crystal, silver, pictures, mirrors, lamps, furniture, all value plus items, and Home Accents & value priced items. Due to manufacturers guidelines, some famous name merchandise is excluded from any discounts. Coupon cannot be used in combination with any other discount, coupon, off or sales event. Valid Tuesday, November 8th Only I s Reg. ID Trans. ifeN 1 O O OFP f 1 I tV&fS IV I ANY SINGLE lilsl jtlllil jiitUilll J J:IM dBl CLOTHING. SHOE. II CV 1 K fiI LINGERIE, CLOTHING ACCESSORY OR HOME FASHIONS ITEM I 1 ' Excludes Wonderbra, Paradox, Reebok, Keds. Timberland, Easy Spirit. Stride Rite. Savane, Tommy 1 m Hilfiger, all shoes, cosmetics, fragrances. Dooney & Bourke, Liz Claiborne & Silk Reflections Hose, I Jifst M , ! i VJr m Jockey, Jodee. electrical appliances, all collectibles. "C&F" quilt promotion, china, crystal, silver, I ; . Jm pictures, mirrors, lamps, furniture, all value plus items, and Home Accents & value priced items. I R"r"' Due to manufacturers guidelines, some famous name merchandise is excluded from any discounts. I ' fewsss Coupon cannot be used in combination with any other discount, coupon, off or sales event J Valid Tuesday, November 8th Only f s Reg. ID , Trans j I ! IN STOCK ONLY NO ADJUSTMENTS ON PREVIOUSLY PURCHASED ITEMS . Open Tuesday 10AM-9PM i

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