RCSD: Wanted Michigan man confesses to strangling, killing Blythewood business owner

2 charged in connection with death of Blythewood Restaurant owner.jpg

BLYTHEWOOD, S.C. (WACH)-- A wanted Michigan man and his girlfriend are now facing charges in connection with the death of a Blythewood restaurant owner.

A press conference was held on Thursday where Richland County Sheriff's Deputy Leon Lott announced the arrest of 36-year-old Erick Young.

Young was accused of strangling 64-year-old Lawrence James Gaugenbaugh who is the owner of the Carolina Wings and Rib House in Blythewood.

"Young didn't care about someone's life, he strangled him out. This 64-year-old man and he just strangled him," said Lott.

Deputies say Gaugenbaugh was reported missing on June 13 by employees of the restaurant, a week later, his body was found outside of an abandoned home in the 10000 block of Wilson Boulevard.

"The employees who reported him missing helped bring closure to the case," explained Lott.

Young's girlfriend, 36-year-old Stacie Lynn Rose,is also facing charges in connection with Gaugenbaugh's death.

She was arrested on June 13 and charged with trespassing and accessory after the fact. Deputies say she assisted with moving Gaugenbaugh's body to the abandoned Blythewood home.

On Wednesday, Young reportedly confessed to killing Gaugenbaugh and disposing his body behind the abandoned Wilson Boulevard home.

Reportedly, Gaugenbaugh knew Rose from the time he spent in Michigan and was introduced to Young.

Gaugenbaugh had allegedly been allowing Rose to stay with him at his home in Northeast Columbia, however Young would sneak into the home daily without Gaugenbaugh's permission.

"He was well liked in the community. I think the goodness of his heart and helping someone out took his life," Lott told reporters.

Young is also facing charges of possession of narcotics.

"Drugs, drugs kill," Lott said of the case.

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts says Gaugenbaugh was killed by asphyxiation due to homicidal strangulation.

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