OTR Interviews

Tiffany Souers' Murder: Search for Clues

This is a partial transcript from "On the Record," May 30, 2006, that has been edited for clarity.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Tiffany Souers was studying civil engineering at Clemson University when she was found strangled to death. How did she die, and why?

Joining us from Central, South Carolina, is the Pickens County coroner, Dr. James Mahanes. Welcome, sir.


VAN SUSTEREN: Sir, in terms of Tiffany's time of death — I mean, I guess that's one important piece of the puzzle. Do you know if the time of death has been determined?

MAHANES: Well, time of death was released, Greta, but it was not calculated by my office or by the forensic pathologist's office. And I'm under the assumption that the South Carolina Investigation Division did that.

VAN SUSTEREN: Do you know, was it about 1:30? That's what the reporter gave us a little while ago, and I was just trying to confirm it. About 1:30 a.m.?

MAHANES: Well, that's what is reported. This type of thing has to be done by, usually, body temperatures and other aspects of what surrounds this, ambient temperature, times that she was last seen and stuff like that, to be able to put it together. If they did that, that information has not been shared with me.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Can you confirm that she was strangled with a bikini top? Is that right?

MAHANES: That's correct. It, you know, of course, appeared as an article of clothing to begin with, but when taken apart, it was identified as the top to a bikini garment.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Now, that's different from the bra she was wearing, is that right? I mean, there's some confusion.

MAHANES: Could you repeat that, please, Greta?

VAN SUSTEREN: Was she also wearing a bra, I mean, or is that what they're calling the bikini, in terms of what was the instrument used to kill her?

MAHANES: Well, yes, the only other article of clothing she had on was a brassiere.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was she sexually assaulted, which might help at least lead to her killer, assuming her killer was a male, which I'm making that assumption?

MAHANES: Well, at this time, Greta, there's no clear evidence of that. All of that information will be coming forth as soon as the full kit is analyzed, but that's probably going to be several weeks, as well as toxicology, too.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you actually go out to the scene where the body was on the scene?

MAHANES: Yes. Whenever there's a signal 9, as it's called, or a death, then our office is called to come. And after a brief scene walk- through, then we examine the body, take personal information, so that we have to do notification and whatnot. And then in a circumstance such as this, we either turn it over to our local forensic specialist to do evidence collection, but in this case, the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division did that because she was a university student.

VAN SUSTEREN: Where was her body found within the apartment?

MAHANES: To my knowledge, she was found in the bedroom.

VAN SUSTEREN: And was there anyone looking around the room to see if furniture turned over, like there'd been a struggle or a fight in any of the other rooms, or anything in the bedroom?

MAHANES: That was not obvious, Greta, and she had no obvious defensive wounds.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did that mean to you? Was there — I mean, you know (INAUDIBLE) fact that she had no defensive wounds. What was sort of your working theory on that?

MAHANES: I'm not sure that — I'm having a little bit of difficulty hearing you, Greta. I'm not sure I understood that. But you know, defensively, if you're fighting off something, you're going to show some bruising, scratching, something like that. It's more obvious if there's a sharp instrument involved. But there was nothing like that in this case.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did that suggest to you that someone came up fast behind her, that there was no defensive wound? Or what's your theory?

MAHANES: Actually, I'm not theorizing on that, Greta, and I want to avoid any speculation in that regard. I mean, this is certainly a human tragedy that's turned into a human drama now because there's so many things that aren't known about this. But hopefully, those things will come...

VAN SUSTEREN: And hopefully, we'll get to those quickly. Thank you, Doctor.

MAHANES: I hope so, yes.

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