Aug. 12, 2005 -- Police today charged a former boyfriend of a South Carolina woman who has been missing for more than a year with murder in her disappearance.
The body of Tamika Huston has not been found but police in Spartanburg, S.C., believe they had enough evidence to charge Christopher Lemont Hampton with murder. Huston, 24 at the time of her disappearance, was last seen June 2, 2004, at a friend's house in South Carolina. Because she lived alone, relatives did not realize she was missing until June 14.
Police said they had recently uncovered additional forensic evidence that enabled them to file charges against Hampton.
"With this evidence we are comfortable in proceeding with criminal charges for the murder of Tamika Antonette Huston," Spartanburg Public Safety Department Director Tony Fisher said at a press conference today. "This additional evidence supports our belief that Christopher Lemont Hampton is responsible for the death of Ms. Huston. Therefore, we have obtained a warrant for the arrest of Christopher Lemont Hampton charging him with Ms. Huston's death."
Hampton had been held on an unrelated federal probation violation and was scheduled to be released today. But he will remain in custody as he faces murder charges. Investigators said they had talked to Hampton throughout their investigation and began considering him a person of interest in the case when they uncovered blood matching Huston's DNA at his former residence in January.
'Our Tamika Will Not Return to Us'
Huston's family is relieved that an arrest has been made and was grateful Spartanburg police for their hard work in the investigation. But they are also grieving because their loved one remains missing.
"For our family, this day brings us both tremendous sadness and some sense of relief," Huston's family said in a statement. "While trying to come to terms with the fact that our Tamika will not return to us, we find comfort in knowing the person responsible for this most personal tragedy is being brought to justice."
It took some time for family members to realize Huston was missing because she was single, lived alone and had recently quit her job as a waitress. Police found Huston's cell phone, three uncashed checks and her driver's license when they searched her home. Her pregnant pet pit bull, Macy -- who friends and relatives say Huston treated like a child -- had given birth and eaten most of her puppies. Huston's car was found a week after she was reported missing, parked at an apartment complex.
Police said their investigation will continue and that they are determined to find Huston's body. In an unrelated case, police have also charged Hampton with sexual misconduct against a 15-year-old girl. Police collected evidence for that case during the Huston investigation and say the charge is unrelated to the missing South Carolina woman's presumed slaying.