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Employees remember beloved Carolina Wings owner

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Those who knew 64-year-old Lawrence Gaugenbaugh says he was at his restaurant, Carolina Wings and Ribhouse in Blythewood, early every morning.

Sandy Hare, a manager at the restaurant, says Gaugenbaugh’s heart was in the walls of his business, and every person who walked through the doors.

“This is what he worked hard for all of his life,” said Sandy Hare, a manager at the restaurant. “This was his baby.”

But the owner will never open up shop again. Gaugenbaugh was found dead outside of an abandoned home in Blythewood earlier this week.

Hare says she and the staff are still in shock.

“It’s been a lot of crying behind closed doors, just hugging and embracing each other,” said Hare. “Tears are being shed every day from us and it’s just tragic. It really is. It really is.”

Authorities with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department say that Gaugenbaugh was housing 36-year-old Stacie Lynn Rose, a woman they say he knew from his past in Michigan.

Rose’s boyfriend, 36-year-old Erick Young, is accused of strangling Gaugenbaugh to death. Rose has been charged as an accessory.

Employees at Carolina House reported the owner as missing. Hare says Gaugenbaugh was not only kind, but was elderly and had Parkinson's Disease, so she can’t understand why he would be killed so brutally.

“Even those who didn’t know him that well are still in disbelief of how cruel people can be,” said Hare.

Hare has been working there 10 years; she was Gaugenbaugh’s first hire at that location. She says that he hasn’t changed in all of that time.

“He hung out and cracked his jokes and made sure we were laughing,” she said. “We love you, Po, and we miss you. I know we’ll see you again. I know it.”


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