On 02-22-2002, Sean Sandlin and Robert Walsh, both 30-year-old, were found shot to death in a storage unit located at Taylorís Warehouse in Bluffton. Through investigation, it was apparent unknown suspect(s) surprised the two while they were working in their storage unit, shooting them with a high powered long gun. It was believed the overhead door to the storage unit was open upon the suspects approach and then shut after the shooting, probably to delay their discovery. Gunshots were heard by witnesses in the surrounding neighborhood, who reported seeing what appeared to be a Ford King Rancher pickup truck speeding out of the Taylor Warehouse parking lot around the time it is believed Walsh and Sandlin were murdered.
The information provided by the various witnesses did not lead to the identification of a suspect or suspects. A search of the storage unit where they were found and rented by Walsh, revealed property stolen from construction sites from as far away as Charleston. It was also discovered, Walsh rented another storage unit at Taylorís Warehouse and when searched, revealed additional property stolen from construction sites. It is believed that both Walsh and Sandlin were travelling outside Beaufort County and were stealing from home sites under construction, then selling the tools and other stolen items on the black market.
In addition, Walsh had been arrested and charged with extortion several months prior to the murders. These discoveries created a difficult task of narrowing a suspect list, as both were high risk victims engaged in inherently dangerous criminal activities.