Two suspects in 25 armed robberies had Hartsville ties

By Bobby Bryant, Editor

editor@newsandpress.net

The man and woman who deputies found dead in a Florence motel room March 19, and who were suspects in 25 armed robberies in three states, both had ties to Hartsville. The male victim, Donovan McMillan, 25, lived in Hartsville, authorities said. The female victim, Chauntress Evelyn Like, 21, an Ohio resident, attended Coker University and competed on the school’s 2017-20 women’s cross-country team, according to Coker’s athletics website. In a high-school profile, Like described herself as “stubborn but very empathetic” and said she wanted to be in the Olympics. Both were found dead when law-enforcement officers forced their way into a room at the Suburban Extended Stay Motel in Florence. It apparently was a murder-suicide; deputies and U.S. Marshals said they heard two shots from inside the room when they arrived to serve arrest warrants on the pair. Officials said no deputy fired a weapon. McMillan and Like were tied to at least three armed robberies in Florence County, officials said. In each case, a female suspect in a hoodie and face mask escaped with an unknown amount of money. Those incidents were: — A CVS Pharmacy on Second Loop Road was robbed in November 2020. — A Food Lion on West Palmetto Street was robbed Jan. 23. — An Aldi grocery store on Irby Street was robbed Feb. 5. In addition, officials said they had linked McMillan and Like to up to 22 more armed robberies in both of the Carolinas and Georgia. Little information is available about McMillan; his obituary, at Young & Young Funeral Home, doesn’t contain any personal information. However, at least 60 people posted tributes to McMillan on the funeral home’s website, some of them expressing shock at what happened. “This seems unreal,” one woman wrote. “I am at a loss for words!” wrote another. The website of Coker’s athletics department offers many details about Like’s cross-country competitions. In high school (Westerville, Ohio, Central High), she ran cross-country and track. In 2017-18, her freshman year at Coker, she ran in five races; she ran her best 5K at the South Atlantic CC Championship in 21:28.3. In 2018-19, as a sophomore, she ran in five meets and was named to the SAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll. In 2019-20, as a junior, she ran in five meets and placed 10th at the Charleston Classic with a time of 23:50.6. Coker says she “entered the school record book at the South Atlantic Cross Country Championship with a time of 25:46.” While she was still in high school, in 2017, Like wrote a profile of herself for the Next College Student Athlete website. She wrote: “ … My name is Chauntress Like. I run track and cross-country for Westerville Central High School in Westerville, Ohio. I am slightly taller than the average height for a young woman of 17 and average in weight. I am going into senior year with a 3.5 GPA and an ACT score in the 75th percentile. “But what you don’t know by looking at my profile is that I can be extremely stubborn but am very empathetic. I am hardworking and dedicated to my craft. Many of my friends ask if I like track or cross-country better. I have always said, ‘Whatever season it is.’ A mantra of ‘being here now’ is what keeps me going. Focusing my efforts on the present season has made me a stronger runner. “By running (in college), I just hope I can listen, learn and grow to my full potential, while building with a team and training for the Olympics in 2020.” Like’s obituary, also on the Young & Young Funeral Home website, says: “Chauntress personified all things light, love and laughter. She was a star reaching for the stars and the glow touched all that were in reach of her and some beyond. Daughter, sister, granddaughter, photographer, poet, visual artist, runner and friend. Chauntress will be remembered forever.”

Author: Rachel Howell

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