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Frame The Importance of

Commercial Truck Insurance in Orangeburg, SC

  • Let's face it - truckers in America have always been the backbone of our great country. They still are in modern times. On any given day, thousands of trucks traverse our highways and local roads, delivering goods and products on time so that businesses and consumers have what they need to live life. And while commercial trucking can be an incredibly lucrative way to make a living and put food on the table, it can also be risky and expensive.
  • Whether you're the owner of a fleet, an independent trucker, or have a business that uses big rigs to transport goods, you need commercial trucking insurance to protect you and your client's investments, shield you from liability, and more.
  • That's where working with a reliable truck insurance agency comes into play. Unfortunately, for many commercial truck insurance providers, serving the needs of truckers is low on the proverbial totem pole. At Independence Insurance Agency, nothing could be further from the truth.

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percent The Commercial Truck

Insurance Agency in Orangeburg, SC You Can Trust

Much like you pride yourself on running a successful trucking business, Independence Insurance Agency prides itself on its years of experience providing truck insurance for hardworking men and women across the country. And in our experience, insurance rates for truckers are just too high - so high, in fact, that they eat away at their bottom line, making it more difficult to run a business and make a profit. Fortunately, at Independence Insurance Agency, we provide truckers the freedom they need from astronomically high insurance rates so they can stay on the road and keep driving America forward.

As one of the most trusted commercial trucking insurance agencies in the U.S., we understand the challenges that you face daily as a trucker. We also know how important it is to protect your business. That's why we go above and beyond to find you the best-priced coverage available, whether you're an operator, own a small fleet, a large fleet, or something in between.

Commercial Truck Insurance Orangeburg, SC

We Put Truckers First Because Others Don't

 Truck Insurance Orangeburg, SC

Truckers across the country choose to work with Independence Insurance Agency because we put their needs first before anything else. As experts in transportation insurance, we proudly offer a range of quality insurance products that are both practical and affordable for them. Our industry-leading carriers provide coverage that caters to the unique challenges faced by the trucking industry, ensuring that your business is protected at all times.

At our core, we are committed to finding the best possible price for your coverage without compromising the quality of service you deserve. The truth is, we understand how essential truckers are to the United States and take pride in making their insurance experience more streamlined and affordable.

One way we do so is by simplifying the insurance process. Our transportation specialists take the time to understand your specific needs and budget to tailor a comprehensive plan that works for you. You won't ever have to worry about cookie-cutter plans or uninterested agents when you work with our commercial trucking insurance agency. We take an educational approach to ensure that the entire big rig insurance process is quick, painless, and easy to understand. If there's something you don't understand, we're happy to take the time to explain. After all, the success and safety of your business are on the line.

Looking to the future, we are committed to providing innovative new products that cater to the ever-changing needs of truck drivers. As your one-stop shop for commercial trucking insurance, we are dedicated to your success, one policy at a time.

If you're a commercial trucker looking to ensure your rig, you can rest easy knowing that Independence Insurance Agency provides:

  • Affordable Trucking Insurance Plans for Any Budget
  • Exemplary Customer Service
  • Seasoned Transportation Specialists Who Customize Plans to Your Needs
  • A+ Carriers Across the Country
  • Simple, Easy Quote and Bind Process
  • Multiple Insurance Carriers Quoted to Find You the Best Rates
  • Truck Insurance for New Ventures

Call us or send us a message today to learn more about the best 18-wheeler insurance options for your trucking business.

chart The Commercial Truck

Common Types of Big Rig Truck Insurance in Orangeburg, SC

At Independence Insurance Agency, we offer several types of insurance coverage for local, intermediate, and long-haul trucking needs. Here are just a few categories of trucking insurance coverage that our agency offers.

As the foundation of your insurance policy, liability coverage is required by law in most states in the U.S. It provides coverage for damage or injuries caused to properties or other people if your 18-wheeler is responsible for the crash. Without liability coverage, it's almost impossible to drive a truck or run a trucking business without major legal consequences.

Having physical damage coverage is an essential component that shouldn't be overlooked. This insurance is responsible for covering the expenses related to repairing or replacing your truck in situations such as accidents, theft, vandalism, and other damaging events. By having this coverage, you can rest assured that your business won't be affected significantly by unexpected incidents, and you can continue running your operations smoothly even in challenging times.

For trucking companies, the goods they transport are crucial to their operations. To protect these goods from damage, loss, or theft while in transit, cargo insurance is essential. This coverage provides much-needed peace of mind for both you and your clients, allowing you to reimburse clients for any losses sustained while protecting your reputation and brand identity.

Non-Trucking Liability Insurance is designed to cover property damage or bodily injury that may occur during personal time when the driver/truck is not under dispatch. This coverage can be applied with or without a trailer and is added to a commercial policy as an endorsement.

While Independence Insurance Agency has built a reputation of excellence in serving the needs of truckers, we also offer general liability. Also known as Truckers General Liability, this coverage insures for bodily injuries or property damage that happen due to business activities that are NOT the cause of operating a truck. It covers accidents that occur in parking lots, rest stops, also while loading or unloading. General liability can also cover losses related to theft and vandalism. Most brokers and shippers will require this coverage to work with you.

Bobtail insurance is a type of coverage that is comparable to non-trucking liability, which is designed to offer protection when driving a truck without a trailer attached. This is commonly referred to as "bobtailing." With bobtail insurance, the tractor is covered at all times, even when it is not attached to a trailer, regardless of whether or not the truck is under dispatch.

Trailer interchange insurance is a must-have if you're involved in a trailer interchange agreement. This essential coverage offers protection for trailers owned by other parties that you're using under a contractual agreement. It covers damages caused by collisions, fire, theft, and vandalism, providing assurance to all parties involved.

Curious whether our commercial truck insurance agency in cityname, state offers additional coverage? The following options can be bound in your insurance policy:

  • Business Interruption Insurance
  • Reefer Breakdown Insurance
  • Occupational Accident with Contract Liability Insurance
  • Rental Reimbursement Insurance
  • Underinsured or Uninsured Motorist Insurance
  • Towing Insurance
  • Electronics Insurance
  • Much More

Three plus 3 Safe Driving Tips to

Lower the Cost of Truck Insurance in Orangeburg, SC

Keeping your drivers safe on the road is crucial not only for their own well-being but also for the safety of other motorists and the financial stability of your business. The Department of Labor has identified the trucking industry as one of the most hazardous sectors in the U.S. In fact, trucking and logistics fleets are known for their high injury and fatality rates. By improving how safely your truckers drive, you can help reduce expenses related to claim payouts, accidents, and insurance premium hikes.

Whether you own a large fleet or you're the owner and operator of a single rig, keep these safe driving tips in mind to help lower your insurance costs.

Implement Preventative Maintenance Plans

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

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 Trucking Insurance Orangeburg, SC

Practice Defensive Driving

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
phone Call Now
 Commercial Liability Insurance For Truckers Orangeburg, SC

Find Ways to Prevent Distracted Driving

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

phone Call Now
 Commercial Truck Insurance Quote Orangeburg, SC

Ensuring the safety of your drivers begins with the safety of their vehicles. Trucks and tractor-trailers that do not receive regular maintenance, such as oil and brake pad changes, are more likely to experience breakdowns while on the road. Telematics devices provide real-time insight into engine and odometer data, including fault codes.

This information enables your mechanics to create comprehensive preventative maintenance schedules based on mileage, history of previous breakdowns, days, and more. Additionally, they can receive immediate notifications for critical fault codes. By implementing routine maintenance and proactive repair schedules, you can ensure that your vehicles are in top condition, minimizing the likelihood of breakdowns, which can help reduce the cost of trucker insurance.

 Low Priced Commercial Truck Insurance Orangeburg, SC phone Call Now

This approach aims to mitigate the risk of fatal crashes and injuries by proactively identifying and responding to potentially dangerous situations and making informed decisions while driving. By adopting defensive driving techniques, drivers can reduce their likelihood of accidents, thereby minimizing the need for expensive repairs, claim payouts, and increased insurance premiums.

Some of the easiest ways for you or your drivers to practice safe driving include:

  • Be Wary of Blind Spots: Operating a reefer or tractor-trailer means driving high off of the ground, which can make visibility limited, especially in blind spots. To check your blind spot, look over your shoulder and out of your windows while changing lanes.
  • Be Ready for Emergencies on the Road: It's important for drivers to be ready for unexpected situations when driving, especially during long trips. They should be equipped to handle emergencies such as poor driving conditions or big rig breakdowns.
  • Use the Three-Second Rule: Truck drivers should try to maintain a three-second gap between their vehicle and the car in front of them. This means that the truck driver should reach a certain point on the road three seconds after the car in front of them has passed that same point.
  • Always Use Right and Left Turn Indicators: It's important for drivers to always use their turn signals when changing lanes or exiting highways, even if they don't see any other cars around. This is not only required by law, but it also reduces the chances of accidents occurring on the road.
Commercial Truck Insurance Orangeburg, SC phone Call Now

According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), distracted driving is the primary reason behind truck driver accidents. Any activity that takes a driver's attention away from the road or the steering wheel is considered distracted driving. Distractions can come in various forms, such as eating while driving or gazing at a billboard outside the window. However, the most frequent form of distracted driving is the use of cellphones, specifically texting while driving.

Assuming you or your driver's rigs are equipped with dual-facing cameras, try reviewing footage of an unsafe driving incident. Coach your drivers on ways to correct their unsafe behaviors or look up ways to do so yourself if you're the one operating the big rig. The bottom line is that when your drivers aren't distracted, they drive safer. And when they drive safer, the cost of 18-wheeler insurance in cityname, state can be reduced.

 Truck Insurance Orangeburg, SC phone Call Now

check light FAQs About

Independence Insurance Agency

If you're looking for a commercial trucking insurance agency for your business, chances are you have some questions - and we've got answers. Keep reading to learn more about some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from truckers like you.

Why go with a "jack of all trades" when you can work with specialists who focus exclusively on transportation insurance? We have excellent relationships with major trucking insurance carriers and, as such, can provide the best assistance and reasonable rates.

Typically, companies will look at claims that date back three years or less.

We proudly work with more than 20 carriers to provide our clients with the most advantageous options at competitive prices, catering to the needs of owner-operators and big fleets alike.

Permit filings are typically done by insurance companies on the next business day. Federal (FMCSA) filings are completed online and updated immediately, while some states may take up to three weeks to process.

Independence Insurance Agency: Committed to the Trucking Industry

There's no question about it - you've got to protect your staff, your rig, and your trucking business with insurance. But choosing the right insurance partner isn't always easy. Thankfully, with Independence Insurance Agency by your side, you can rest easy knowing you're covered no matter where the road takes you. If you're in need of a commercial truck insurance agency in Orangeburg, SC that caters to truckers like you, pick up the phone and contact one of our transportation specialists today. That way, you can get back on the road with confidence tomorrow.

 Trucking Insurance Orangeburg, SC

Latest News in Orangeburg, SC

California Governor Gavin Newsom visits Orangeburg

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. — With the South Carolina democratic presidential primary fast approaching, California Governor Gavin Newsom is on the campaign trail for President Joe Biden."I'm here proudly on their behalf," said Governor Newsom. "To make a case for their re-election this November and how you can share your action and passion to help advance the cause that I think unites all of us here together."Marion Mack II lives in Orange...

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. — With the South Carolina democratic presidential primary fast approaching, California Governor Gavin Newsom is on the campaign trail for President Joe Biden.

"I'm here proudly on their behalf," said Governor Newsom. "To make a case for their re-election this November and how you can share your action and passion to help advance the cause that I think unites all of us here together."

Marion Mack II lives in Orangeburg and says he would like to see less restrictions on the voting process.

"We eliminate all of the hurdles that get in the way of people expressing their voice and we encourage more people to express themselves and get their voice and let it be heard," said Mack. "That way even if you don't get the result that you wanted, you know that you at least got heard."

RELATED: SC Election Commission seeks $5 million to raise poll worker pay

Elloree resident Chasity Avinger says many voters like herself are worried about making ends meet.

"I would say one of the most important things of course that everyone focuses on is the economy,” said Avinger. “That is critically important to us. Whether its job creation, making sure that people are able to support their families. A huge topic of conversation right now of course is that the fact that it is so hard to afford daily essentials, groceries rent. And you want to look at someone that is going to address those basic concerns as well as big picture items."

RELATED: Caucuses and Primaries: 5 Fast Facts

Avinger says getting out and casting a vote is the way to make sure concerns are heard.

"Voter turn out is such an important thing,” said Avinger. “It's having the right to vote and the opportunity to voice your opinion it does matter and I think people underestimate how important their vote is whether it's a local election or a presidential elections. You've got to get out and vote, you've got to get other people to go with you. Stand in the line if you have to… but just make sure that your vote is counted."

Governor Newsom will make another campaign stop Thursday morning at Sumter’s Morris College.

‘We know her smile’: Family of missing Holly Hill woman finds human remains

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The family of a woman who has been missing since August says they are infuriated after finding exposed remains they believed to be hers.Melissa Aguilar, 49, of Holly Hill, was last in contact with family on Aug. 17, according to Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell.Aguilar’s sister, Sarah Shipman, says investigators told her Thursday that remains w...

ORANGEBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WCSC) - The family of a woman who has been missing since August says they are infuriated after finding exposed remains they believed to be hers.

Melissa Aguilar, 49, of Holly Hill, was last in contact with family on Aug. 17, according to Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell.

Aguilar’s sister, Sarah Shipman, says investigators told her Thursday that remains were found in Holly Hill, less than half a mile from Aguilar’s home.

After asking neighbors for an approximate location, she and Aguilar’s two daughters, Brittany Ranew and Shanna Brown, went to the site the next day, hoping for closure.

“As I was hugging my nieces and consoling them, I looked down and found my sister’s jawbone between my feet,” Shipman says.

After rushing her nieces out of the woods, Shipman says she returned to the site.

“I went back out there to see if that was what I had really seen, I found her dental work and close to 20 more pieces of my sister that they had walked over and left behind,” she says.

The Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office has not confirmed the remains are Aguilars. They say they’ve been sent to SLED for processing and identification.

“We know her smile, and that smile was in the dirt, and you don’t unsee that, and you know someone’s smile,” she says.

Shipman says investigators promised to collect the rest of the remains Monday. When she and Brown returned to the scene Tuesday, they found what appeared to be several more bones and a tooth.

“I knew, there was something telling me there was more,” Shipman says.

They immediately altered authorities again.

Ranew describes her mother as the glue of the entire family.

“It’s hard to list all the amazing things about her because she was so much more than anyone could describe,” Ranew says.

Brown says there are no words to describe the pain of losing a mother.

“My 6-year-old is constantly asking me, ‘Why is Mamie on the news?’ and then my 1-year-old is not going to remember her. I’m going to have to remind him of who she was, she’s going to miss my wedding day,” Brown says.

Shipman says the lack of care from the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office through the entire investigation has “traumatized” their family.

“If the Sheriff’s Department is not capable of doing a job correctly, leaving my sister behind, they should own up and call in outside resources,” Shipman says.

The Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office did not respond to the family’s claim that they mishandled the investigation.

“The investigation into Ms. Melissa Aguilar going missing is an active and ongoing investigation,” Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said in an email. “We are still asking the public for any information regarding Ms. Aguilar. If you have any information in this case, you are urged to contact us.”

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

‘I told you so’: Coroner’s office identifies remains as missing Holly Hill woman

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WCSC) - The Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office confirmed Tuesday that human remains found earlier this month in Holly Hill are those of a woman reported missing in August.The coroner was able to confirm the remains were those of 49-year-old Melissa Aguilar using dental records, WIS-TV reported.That’s news that Orangeburg Cou...

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WCSC) - The Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office confirmed Tuesday that human remains found earlier this month in Holly Hill are those of a woman reported missing in August.

The coroner was able to confirm the remains were those of 49-year-old Melissa Aguilar using dental records, WIS-TV reported.

That’s news that Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said he learned from Aguilar’s family, not from official channels, shortly before a Tuesday afternoon news conference on the case. That news conference seemed to raise more questions than provide answers, however.

Ravenell said family members told him that someone at the Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office told family members that the human remains discovered on Jan. 4 were those of Aguilar.

“After talking to the family, they informed me that they were informed by the coroner’s office that this was — this actually came back to be Melissa,” Ravenell said.

But the sheriff said his agency had not yet been informed of that confirmation and that he was trying to get a call through to the coroner’s office.

“Officially, we’re still waiting on our own word, but that’s what the family is telling me from the guy from the coroner’s office,” he said. “If that’s the case, I gave the family my condolences and told them that we will continue to pray for them and that this investigation, even though we were working it as a missing person, you know, I will tell you here and now that this was, this investigation, all the time was going in two different directions.”

Aguilar’s sister, Sarah Shipman, said they’ve been experiencing this lack of communication throughout the investigation.

“I don’t know if people know the locations of those two offices but they’re like a building apart,” Shipman said, “Not only did we get a lack of communication, but they can’t communicate with each other.”

Shipman said she filed a formal complaint against the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office through the Attorney General’s Office this past weekend, citing a lack of communication and transparency throughout the investigation.

She said she believes Tuesday’s news conference stemmed from her complaint, but a spokesperson for the agency said they had no knowledge of the complaint at the time.

Aguilar had been reported missing on Aug. 18 by an ex-boyfriend, the sheriff said. Ravenell said their job now is to find out the manner of death.

“And if it was some foul play, then you can be assured that we’ll find out and we will have somebody in custody if there was some foul play,” he said.

Ravenell said investigators questioned people in the months since Aguilar was reported missing, but said without the discovery of remains and the confirmation that the remains were those of Aguilar, they did not know whether anyone was responsible for her disappearance. But he said his agency has a “person of interest” in that disappearance.

“We talked to him, we had enough reason to think that we needed to get his phone and we needed to get this DVR and analyze it,” he said.

The sheriff did not name the person of interest or any possible connection with Aguilar.

Aguilar’s family said the remains were found less than a half-mile from her home.

After asking neighbors for an approximate location of where the remains had been found, Shipman, said she and Agular’s two daughters, Birttany Ranew and Shanna Brown went to the site the next day, hoping for what she called closure.

“As I was hugging my nieces and consoling them, I looked down and found my sister’s jawbone between my feet,” Shipman said on Wednesday.

As of then, the Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office had not confirmed to the family that the remains were of Aguilar. Deputies said the remains had been sent to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for processing and identification.

“We know her smile, and that smile was in the dirt, and you don’t unsee that, and you know someone’s smile,” Shipman said.

Shipman said investigators promised to collect the rest of the remains, but that when she and Brown returned to the scene the following day, they found what appeared to be several more bones and a tooth.

Ravenell defended his team amid questions about how family members could have found remains after they had supposedly been collected.

“The coroner collected the remains that were there,” Ravenell said.

When a reporter asked about the fact that it struck some people as unusual that there would still be remains left for the family to discover, Ravenell said it struck him as unusual as well.

“You know, it’s just that, just in a case of a dead body, the coroner comes and they pronounce and then they collect and remove. It’s the same thing,” he said.

Orangeburg County Coroner Samuetta Marshall said they “collected what they saw.” She said, although it’s not unusual, there was no boundary set up by law enforcement indicating where the remains were discovered.

Ravenell said he can understand the family being upset about the lack of answers they’ve received so far and said he wished he’d had the information they told him they had received from the coroner’s office.

“I would be upset. I would be angry with somebody. So I don’t hold anything against the family,” he said. “A lot of people would be way more outraged than they were.”

Moving forward, Shipman said she hopes the agency will show more respect to their family and provide answers regarding what happened to her sister.

“We were screaming this to Orangeburg the moment we saw her smile, it wasn’t relief, it was, ‘I told you so,’” Shipman said.

Sheriff Leroy Ravenell released the following statement:

“On Tuesday, I held a press conference with the sole purpose of informing the public after we had conferred with the family as to where an investigation stood into the recovery of human remains near Holly Hill on January 4, 2024. The community has a vested interest in their county and deserve to know where we stood.”

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

‘I told you so’: Coroner’s office identifies remains as missing Holly Hill woman

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WCSC) - The Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office confirmed Tuesday that human remains found earlier this month in Holly Hill are those of a woman reported missing in August.The coroner was able to confirm the remains were those of 49-year-old Melissa Aguilar using dental records, WIS-TV reported.That’s news that Orangeburg Cou...

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WCSC) - The Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office confirmed Tuesday that human remains found earlier this month in Holly Hill are those of a woman reported missing in August.

The coroner was able to confirm the remains were those of 49-year-old Melissa Aguilar using dental records, WIS-TV reported.

That’s news that Orangeburg County Sheriff Leroy Ravenell said he learned from Aguilar’s family, not from official channels, shortly before a Tuesday afternoon news conference on the case. That news conference seemed to raise more questions than provide answers, however.

Ravenell said family members told him that someone at the Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office told family members that the human remains discovered on Jan. 4 were those of Aguilar.

“After talking to the family, they informed me that they were informed by the coroner’s office that this was — this actually came back to be Melissa,” Ravenell said.

But the sheriff said his agency had not yet been informed of that confirmation and that he was trying to get a call through to the coroner’s office.

“Officially, we’re still waiting on our own word, but that’s what the family is telling me from the guy from the coroner’s office,” he said. “If that’s the case, I gave the family my condolences and told them that we will continue to pray for them and that this investigation, even though we were working it as a missing person, you know, I will tell you here and now that this was, this investigation, all the time was going in two different directions.”

Aguilar’s sister, Sarah Shipman, said they’ve been experiencing this lack of communication throughout the investigation.

“I don’t know if people know the locations of those two offices but they’re like a building apart,” Shipman said, “Not only did we get a lack of communication, but they can’t communicate with each other.”

Shipman said she filed a formal complaint against the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office through the Attorney General’s Office this past weekend, citing a lack of communication and transparency throughout the investigation.

She said she believes Tuesday’s news conference stemmed from her complaint, but a spokesperson for the agency said they had no knowledge of the complaint at the time.

Aguilar had been reported missing on Aug. 18 by an ex-boyfriend, the sheriff said. Ravenell said their job now is to find out the manner of death.

“And if it was some foul play, then you can be assured that we’ll find out and we will have somebody in custody if there was some foul play,” he said.

Ravenell said investigators questioned people in the months since Aguilar was reported missing, but said without the discovery of remains and the confirmation that the remains were those of Aguilar, they did not know whether anyone was responsible for her disappearance. But he said his agency has a “person of interest” in that disappearance.

“We talked to him, we had enough reason to think that we needed to get his phone and we needed to get this DVR and analyze it,” he said.

The sheriff did not name the person of interest or any possible connection with Aguilar.

Aguilar’s family said the remains were found less than a half-mile from her home.

After asking neighbors for an approximate location of where the remains had been found, Shipman, said she and Agular’s two daughters, Birttany Ranew and Shanna Brown went to the site the next day, hoping for what she called closure.

“As I was hugging my nieces and consoling them, I looked down and found my sister’s jawbone between my feet,” Shipman said on Wednesday.

As of then, the Orangeburg County Coroner’s Office had not confirmed to the family that the remains were of Aguilar. Deputies said the remains had been sent to the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division for processing and identification.

“We know her smile, and that smile was in the dirt, and you don’t unsee that, and you know someone’s smile,” Shipman said.

Shipman said investigators promised to collect the rest of the remains, but that when she and Brown returned to the scene the following day, they found what appeared to be several more bones and a tooth.

Ravenell defended his team amid questions about how family members could have found remains after they had supposedly been collected.

“The coroner collected the remains that were there,” Ravenell said.

When a reporter asked about the fact that it struck some people as unusual that there would still be remains left for the family to discover, Ravenell said it struck him as unusual as well.

“You know, it’s just that, just in a case of a dead body, the coroner comes and they pronounce and then they collect and remove. It’s the same thing,” he said.

Orangeburg County Coroner Samuetta Marshall said they “collected what they saw.” She said, although it’s not unusual, there was no boundary set up by law enforcement indicating where the remains were discovered.

Ravenell said he can understand the family being upset about the lack of answers they’ve received so far and said he wished he’d had the information they told him they had received from the coroner’s office.

“I would be upset. I would be angry with somebody. So I don’t hold anything against the family,” he said. “A lot of people would be way more outraged than they were.”

Moving forward, Shipman said she hopes the agency will show more respect to their family and provide answers regarding what happened to her sister.

“We were screaming this to Orangeburg the moment we saw her smile, it wasn’t relief, it was, ‘I told you so,’” Shipman said.

Sheriff Leroy Ravenell released the following statement:

“On Tuesday, I held a press conference with the sole purpose of informing the public after we had conferred with the family as to where an investigation stood into the recovery of human remains near Holly Hill on January 4, 2024. The community has a vested interest in their county and deserve to know where we stood.”

Copyright 2024 WCSC. All rights reserved.

‘We’re looking for any kind of leads:’ Orangeburg County Sheriff asks for help finding missing woman

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WIS) - The Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a woman who’s been missing since August.The sheriff’s department said that family members last spoke with Melissa Aguilar, 49, of Four Winds Road in Holly Hill, on Aug. 17.“We are looking for any kind of leads, anyone may have that would help us find this lady,” Orangeburg County Leroy Ravenell said. “We’re hoping these photos will help jog someone’s memory. Even if they don’t know this lady but...

ORANGEBURG, S.C. (WIS) - The Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Office is searching for a woman who’s been missing since August.

The sheriff’s department said that family members last spoke with Melissa Aguilar, 49, of Four Winds Road in Holly Hill, on Aug. 17.

“We are looking for any kind of leads, anyone may have that would help us find this lady,” Orangeburg County Leroy Ravenell said. “We’re hoping these photos will help jog someone’s memory. Even if they don’t know this lady but saw her, tell us where and when.”

Orangeburg County Sheriff's Office

about a month ago

Sheriff Leroy Ravenell announced that investigators are searching for an Orangeburg County female last seen by family members in August. “We are looking for any kind of leads anyone may have that would help us find this lady,” the sheriff said. “We’re hoping these photos will help jog someone’s memory. Even if they don’t know this lady but saw her, tell us where and when.” Ravenell said Orangeburg County Sheriff’s investigators are searching for 49-year-old Melissa Aguilar of...

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The sheriff’s department said Aguilar was last seen after she got into a fight with her former boyfriend.

Anyone with information about her disappearance is encouraged to call the sheriff’s department at 803-534-3550.

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