Lukaitis murder timeline and aftermath

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Lukaitis murder timeline and aftermath

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Published Sunday, September 26, 2010   |  1223 Words  |  news

The following timeline is based on Beaufort County Sheriff Office reports and witness accounts.
Sunday, Aug. 8, 2010
Bluffton

  • 9:30 a.m.: Alexis Lukaitis leaves her apartment at the Lakes at Myrtle Park and drives to friend Tina Johnson's home in Bluffton. The two drive to a Hilton Head Island pharmacy so Johnson can fill a prescription for Suboxone, a drug used to treat opiod dependence, according to Frank A. Miriello, director of Pharmacy Services at Beaufort Memorial Hospital. Johnson, who takes the drug to treat an addiction to prescription pain medication, says Lukaitis was experiencing a similar addiction. Lukaitis mentions she is going to call Drayton to get pills from him. Johnson fills the prescription and shares some of the pills with Lukaitis.
  • 10:20 a.m.: The women head back to Bluffton to pick up Drayton at friend Larry Jordan's home on May River Road.
  • 10:30 a.m.: The three stop at Neighbors BP gas station at 4372 Bluffton Parkway for gas. While Lukaitis is pumping gas, Drayton makes what Johnson calls "inappropriate sexual comments."
  • 10:45 a.m.: Lukaitis drives Johnson home. Johnson asks Lukaitis to step out of the car, and she tells her about Drayton's comments, warning her about being alone with him. Lukaitis tells Johnson that "she would be fine" because she knows Drayton.
  • 11:30 a.m.: Lukaitis calls Johnson to say she dropped Drayton off and was "fine."
  • 3 p.m.: Lukaitis calls Johnson again to say she "needed more pills." She does not mention plans to take Drayton to Charleston. The women make plans to go to their neighborhood pool the next day. It is the last time Johnson speaks with Lukaitis.
    At the couple's apartment, Lukaitis tells her finance, Michael Bartley, she is ill and going to take a nap. Bartley leaves for his parents' house with the couple's sons, Scott and Evan, for the family's regular, Sunday-evening dinner.
  • 6:30 p.m.: Bartley arrives home to an empty apartment. He calls Lukaitis who tells him she is driving Drayton to Charleston to pick up prescription pills. She says Drayton is giving her pills and gas money for her efforts.
    Bartley says Lukaitis spoke to someone in the car, presumably Drayton. Lukaitis tells Bartley she is on U.S. 17 near Charleston and that she will be home in about an hour.
  • 9:49 p.m.: When Lukaitis does not return, Bartley calls her cell phone. Someone answers, but does not speak. Her phone goes dead.
    Bartley calls Lukaitis repeatedly until nearly 2 a.m. No answer.
    Monday, Aug. 9
    Charleston County
  • 7:30 a.m.: Loggers discover the body of a woman beside Old Jacksonboro Road near Adams Run.
    Bluffton
  • 9:04 a.m.: Bartley begins calling Lukaitis' friends. He also calls a relative who works for the Hardeeville Police Department who tells him a woman's body has been found in Charleston County.
    Bartley calls Johnson, who says her 11-year-old son saw Drayton walking in the parking lot of Bluffton Self Help that morning with scratches on his face, a large bandage on his right index finger and a hospital identification band on his wrist.
    Bartley calls Drayton and confronts him about his injuries and Lukaitis' whereabouts. Drayton tells Bartley that Lukaitis never picked him up and abruptly hangs up the phone.
    Bartley calls the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office to report Lukaitis missing.
    9:08 a.m.: Beaufort County sheriff's deputies arrive at the Lakes at Myrtle Park to interview Bartley. He tells them she went to Charleston with Drayton and has not returned.
    Deputies attempt to call Lukaitis' cell phone. No one answers.
    Deputies run a computer search on Lukaitis' 2001 Pontiac Grand Prix. The car has not been seen by law enforcement officers in South Carolina or neighboring states.
    5 p.m.: Bartley's relative at the Hardeeville Police Department tells deputies about the body of a white woman matching the description of Lukaitis found in Charleston County.
    Deputies re-intervew Bartley. He tells them Lukaitis went to Charleston with Drayton to buy pills.
    Deputies call Shannon Hooper, Lukaitis' friend. Hooper says she has not seen Lukaitis since Sunday afternoon. She also tells deputies Lukaitis went to Charleston with Drayton to get prescription pills. She tells them Drayton later called her to say he never went to Charleston with Lukaitis.
    Beaufort County dispatchers enter information on Lukaitis and her car into the National Crime Information Center.
    Deputies arrive at Jordan's May River Road home. Drayton isn't there.
    They leave a message on his cell phone. He calls back and agrees to meet them at Jordan's home. Deputies wait about 30 minutes. Drayton never shows. They search the area but can't find him.
    They speak with his aunt, who lives next door to Jordan. She says she hasn't seen him.
    Tuesday, Aug. 10
    Charleston
  • Bartley travels to Charleston to help identify the body. Beaufort County investigators confirm it is Lukaitis and close their missing person report. Charleston County sheriff's deputies begin investigating Lukaitis' death as a homicide.
    Wednesday, Aug. 11
    Bluffton
  • 6:30 a.m.: Bluffton police find Lukaitis' Grand Prix abandoned in the Oyster Factory Park parking lot. Investigators with the S.C. Law Enforcement Division's Crimes Scene Unit find blood on the interior, exterior and in the trunk.
    The spare tire, foam insert and trunk liner are missing from the trunk.
  • Later that morning: Drayton's cousin Stephen Edwards calls Bluffton police to tell them he has information about Drayton. Sheriff's deputies arrive at his Goethe Road home. Edwards says Drayton knocked on his back door about 7:30 a.m. Monday and asked to be driven to the hospital for a cut on his hand he said he received after a fight in Beaufort.
    When Edwards returns home, he discovers a spare tire, tire cover and other items splattered with blood in and around a trash can in his backyard.
    A town of Bluffton employee flags down deputies after finding blood spatters on a toilet, floor and wall in a stall in the women's public restroom at Old Oyster Factory Park. Investigators take swabs of the blood spatters and give them to Charleston County investigators.
    Deputies searching the home find a black diaper bag and other items consistent with items missing from Lukaitis' car.
  • 1:58 p.m.: Bluffton police find Drayton on the steps of the Bluffton library. He is arrested by Beaufort County sheriff's investigators on an outstanding warrant for failing to register as a sex offender. He also is charged with possession of marijuana. The Charleston County Sheriff's Office later charges Drayton with Lukaitis' murder.
  • Later that afternoon: Deputies re-intervew Edwards, who tells them Drayton took a ring to a jewelry store in Bluffton to sell it.
    At the jewelry store, an employee says a man matching Drayton's description came in around noon Aug. 9 and sold a diamond ring he said he found at a Chevron gas station in Bluffton. The ring is turned over to investigators. It is later identified as Lukaitis' engagement ring.
    Sunday, Aug. 15
    Bluffton
  • Deputies retrieve a knife from Edwards' home. The knife is turned over to Charleston County investigators.
    -- Cassie Foss