The investigation into Overcomer Ministry leader Ralph G. Stair appears to have taken a sinister turn Thursday morning, as State Law Enforcement Division and Colleton County Sheriff's Office investigators exhumed a corpse at the community.
"The body will be autopsied some time today and will be returned," said Lt. Mike Brown of SLED. Brown was not able to offer any further details about exhumation.
Law enforcement finished digging up the body about two hours after they started at approximately 7:30 a.m. Because the Sheriff's Office was only assisting, they are unable to release any information, said Capt. Kent Tisdale.
Stair, 69, is currently being held without bond at the Colleton County Detention Center on two counts of criminal sexual conduct and two counts of breach of trust.
The self-proclaimed prophet who preaches over AM and short-wave radio to a worldwide audience of followers, and his Internet-based ministry crosses international lines. Stair's religious community in Canadys is approximately 100 persons strong.
Two girls claim Stair had sex with them over 70 times against their will. Stair's wife Teresa says he admits having sex with several women at the community, but it was completely consensual. Other former members say Stair tricked them out of their money after they moved to the community.
Aside from these criminal charges, family members of a former follower who recently died at the community say his death was the result of neglect. An autopsy revealed Stanley Crawford Bean, 27, died of cerebral herniation on Tuesday, May 28, according to Chief Deputy Coroner Willard Long.
"I believe foul play is involved. He walks in there healthy and comes out on a stretcher," said George Bean, Stan's father, " I really have the feeling myself that something was done to Stan to make him have a hemorrhage of the brain."
But Teresa Stair, who explained the ministry doesn't believe in medical care, says Stan wanted to die.
He (Bean) wanted to go." Teresa Stair said in an earlier interview. "He really wanted to be with the Lord. He said, 'Sister Stair, I am so happy if I am going to be with the Lord.'"
Though his bond was denied by 14th Judicial Circuit Judge Perry Buckner at a hearing on May 22, Stair will have the opportunity for another hearing on July 29.