Crews looking for a state constable found a shallow, freshly dug grave near Interstate 26 on Saturday afternoon, authorities said.

A special team from Columbia was working to dig up the body, which has not been identified, Charleston County sheriff's spokesman Capt. John Clark said.

The team is working carefully to preserve any clues and it could take them several hours to finish their work, Clark said Saturday night.

Searchers returned to rural Orangeburg County on Saturday after learning some new information from the girlfriend of the chief suspect in the case, Clark said.

The grave was found about 15 miles west on I-26 from where the burned vehicle of one of the men being questioned in the case was discovered, Clark said.

"We got lucky to have found it," Clark said.

The coroner has been called to the scene and is expected to identify the body as soon as it can be excavated, Clark said.

Robert Lee Bailey, 67, was last seen Monday night making a traffic stop in Lincolnville, 50 miles away from where the grave was found.

A few minutes later and a few blocks down the road, gunfire was heard. Bailey's hat and gun and a pool of blood were found in a yard and his burning cruiser found a few miles away off I-26.

Later in the week, his badge and handcuffs case were found in a wad of burned rags near Harleyville, about 20 miles farther up the Interstate.

Authorities moved their search Saturday after talking to the first person charged in direct connection to the case. Asia Prioleau, 22, of Hopkins, faces one count of accessory after the fact to murder.

Prioleau is the girlfriend of the chief suspect, Walter Fayall, 24, who is being held on federal gun charges but has not been charged in this case, authorities said.

Investigators think Prioleau was at the home in Lincolnville where the blood was found and helped take Bailey from the area.

Bailey, a retired Dorchester County deputy, was a constable with Lincolnville for about five years, volunteering his time to the small town which has only one paid officer.

There are a little more than 2,000 constables in South Carolina. Bailey was one of 80 known as group three advanced constables.