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Twenty years later, search continues for Clemson student’s killer

Stacey Brooke Holsonback
Courtesy of the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office

Stacey Brooke Holsonback

It’s been 20 years since a Clemson University student’s body was recovered from Lake Hartwell, and the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is asking for your help to solve the case.
On Feb. 20, 1997, the body of 19-year-old Stacey Brooke Holsonback was recovered from Lake Hartwell, just off Highway 93 near Seneca. Her body was located in a small cove across the road from the Roy Cooper YMCA Recreation Area – approximately one mile from Clemson’s campus and over two miles from the site where she was last seen alive.    
Holsonback, a graduate of Saluda High School, was a freshman biochemistry major at Clemson. She was last seen on Feb. 19, 1997, when she had gone “mud-bogging” with two male Clemson students near Seneca. She walked away on foot when the vehicle got stuck, deputies said.
A construction worker discovered the body floating in Lake Hartwell the next day. The worker contacted authorities and the body was later identified as Holsonback. An autopsy was conducted and revealed she had been strangled, and her death was ruled a homicide.
Even though it’s been two decades since her body was discovered, the investigation hasn’t been dormant, the sheriff’s office said.
Investigators from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Clemson University Police Department and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) have been following leads and conducting interviews regarding the investigation.
Investigators said evidence has been re-submitted to the SLED Forensic Laboratory for re-testing to utilize advances in forensic technology that weren’t available in 1997.
In addition, a task force, consisting of investigators from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, Clemson PD, SLED and the FBI, has been assembled to work on the identification and apprehension of the persons responsible for Holsonback’s death, according to the sheriff’s office.
The task force is consulting with criminal profilers from SLED and the FBI, and a profile of the offenders will be utilized by the task force in identification and arrest of the responsible individuals.
The case was spotlighted last March on the show “Crime Watch Daily.”
The Holsonback family issued the following statement: “It is our family’s hope that by bringing this case to the forefront, our daughter will never be forgotten and justice will soon prevail for Brooke. We want to thank Oconee County Sheriff’s Office, especially Captain Greg Reed, for keeping Brooke’s case in the minds of the public.
If you have any information regarding the case, contact the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office at 864-638-4111, Crime Stoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC or 864-638-STOP. You can offer a tip anonymously.

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