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Mail was piled outside an apartment door that held a late-rent note, and apparently no one had seen the residents for weeks, so it wasn’t until a foul odor drew authorities inside that a quiet couple was found dead in Simpsonville.
That discovery on Friday afternoon stunned neighbors on the short, dead-end street where David McGee, 53, and his wife, Donna, 42, had lived for 14 years.
“Everybody around here was pretty shocked, you know, to have something like this happen right here in the neighborhood,” said James Renfro, who lives two houses down from the fourplex at 52 Maplewood Drive, where the McGees rented their home.
Simpsonville Police Chief Chip Minnis said that foul play is not suspected. The McGees had been dead for more than a month before anyone noticed something was wrong.
“I just can’t figure it out,” Minnis said.
"There was no trauma to the bodies, and no apparent cause of death, but they both had a history of medical conditions," Deputy Corner Jeff Ivers said.
Ivers said he was called to the scene after a tenant in the building called the landlord to report a foul odor coming from the McGee's apartment.
The landlord, Terry Nethery, said he did not immediately see the body of David McGee lying on the living-room floor. “I was just so shocked, that I just went back out,” he said.
Ivers said Donna McGee’s body was found in the bathroom, lying partially in the bathtub, fully clothed.
As he worked Monday to clean out the apartment, Nethery paused to look with sadness on some of their belongings he had piled into a pickup truck.
He said the odor was unbearable, not only because of the condition of the bodies but also because the power company had turned off the electricity when the McGees’ remained unpaid. The food in the refrigerator had spoiled.
Nethery said that until Ivers arrived and discovered Donna McGee’s body in the bathroom, he had thought that she wasn’t there.
“That was disturbing to me, because I wondered why she would have left him alone, because she was his caregiver, and she was absolutely devoted to him,” he said.
Neither Nethery nor Ivers provided details about what sort of medical issues the McGees had.
Minnis said that what disturbed him about the situation was that the mail was piled up and the post office had not mentioned it to anyone.
Nethery said he had put a notice on the couple’s door when they didn’t pay their rent, telling them they were behind and needed to call him.
He said he did not know if the McGees had family living in the county, and Minnis said he thought that maybe one or both or them may have been estranged from family members, but he wasn’t sure.
He said they didn’t have any children together, but he thought Donna McGee may have had a son.
Renfro said he didn’t know the couple well because they kept to themselves and didn’t socialize with their neighbors.
“That might be because they couldn’t get around real well,” he said.
Nethery said the couple were good tenants and, as far as he knew, were good people.
“I know they were devoted to each other,” he said. “They never had any domestic disputes, and where you saw one, you saw the other.
An autopsy was performed Saturday, but Ivers said the complete results would not be available for six weeks. The toxicology report, which is done in all autopsies, should be ready in about half that time, he said.
“That report will reveal any drugs or substances of that nature that were present in the body,” he said.
But even that information will not necessarily tell the complete story of the couple’s final hours.
"We will probably never know what happened; what caused them to pass away at the same time,” Minnis said.
Nethery said there has been a lot of speculation around the community about what could have led to the double demise, but that’s all it is, speculation.
“Nobody knows what happened in there, and probably nobody ever will,” said.