Robert Walsh & Shawn Sandlin (2002)

On February 22, 2002, Robert Walsh and Shawn Sandlin were found shot to death inside of Taylor Warehouse, Unit 18 (114 Bluffton Road, Bluffton, South Carolina). It was uncovered during the investigation that they were in possession of tens of thousands of dollars worth of stolen tools and equipment being stored in the warehouse. It is not known if their association with the stolen property is related to their murders. Suspect(s) have not yet been identified.

Originally from Greenville, South Carolina, Walsh was residing in Hilton Head at the time of the incident. Sandlin was a Greenville resident.

Robert John Walsh
of Hilton Head, SC

Deputies hunt for suspects in double slaying
BLUFFTON: One victim recently arrested in blackmail case on Hilton Head Island.
By Stephanie Broadbent
C
arolina Morning News - February 24, 2002

One was a man trying to improve his destiny, learning a new trade with his best friend.

The other was a cabinet maker, his own fate clouded by a recent arrest for blackmail.

On Friday night, both were found dead, shot in the storage unit where they were building their futures one cabinet at a time.

Robert John Walsh, 30, of Hilton Head Island and Shawn Marsh Sandlin, 30, of Simpsonville were shot with a high-caliber weapon inside storage unit F-18 at Taylor Warehouse in Bluffton.

Beaufort County deputies were looking for suspects Saturday, but no arrest had been made and investigators had not established a motive for the shootings, said Beaufort County Sheriff's Office Spokeswoman Debbie Szpanka.

"The scene was extensive and appeared very brutal in nature," Szpanka said. "We have people working around the clock."

The men were found inside the storage unit after Walsh failed to show up for dinner with his wife. When Diane Walsh arrived, the door was closed and she discovered them dead inside and called for help at 7:50 p.m.

Sandlin had been shot in the head, and Walsh was shot in other areas of his body, said Beaufort County Coroner Curt Copeland. Their bodies were sent to Charleston for autopsies.

The storage units are at 114 Bluffton Road, across S.C. 46 from Shady Glen Mobile Home Park. The men used the unit as a workshop.

Tricia Sandlin said her husband was staying in Bluffton to learn the cabinet trade from his best friend, Robert Walsh. Shawn Sandlin called her Friday night and said he and Walsh were getting ready to close up for the night. An hour later he was dead.

"He was a terrific husband," she said Saturday. "He was my best friend."

Shawn Sandlin had been visiting Bluffton off and on for about a year, whenever there was work. He'd given up managing a farm and garden store because he wanted a better job, she said.

"He's always been a very creative person, he wanted something with more of a future," Tricia Sandlin said. "Robert, being a good friend, just wanted to help him learn. He was a really good friend and a really good man. Both of them were."

Shawn Sandlin was staying at a hotel and had planned to return home Saturday. Sometimes he stayed with the Walshes when he was working in Bluffton.

Robert Walsh and Diane Walsh, 30, were arrested in December and charged with blackmailing a guest at The Westin Resort. The guest told investigators that Diane Walsh approached him at the hotel's pool, struck up a conversation with him and asked him to rub her neck and back.

She met him on succeeding days and also called his hotel room. Five days after meeting, she told him that she had photographs and voice-recordings of him flirting with her and that he would have to pay $6,500 if he wanted the pictures to "go away," police said.

Instead he called the sheriff's office and deputies went with him to the hotel where he was supposed to deliver the money. Investigators seized photographs and recordings made over the phone and by the pool.

Both were released from the Beaufort County Detention Center on Dec. 8 on their own recognizance.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division sent a forensic team to Taylor Warehouse late Friday night at the request of the
Sheriff's Office. They spent nearly nine hours collecting evidence from the storage unit and finished up at 8:39 a.m. Saturday. Crime tape was removed from the area Saturday and there was no sign of a double slaying.

Szpanka said investigators were interviewing potential witnesses and trying to come up with suspects. Anyone with information can call Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC (274-6372).