UPDATE: An earlier version stated that the Gardner had lived with his dead mother and aunt. The sheriff’s office says that is a mistaken interpretation of their press release and that Gardner did NOT live with the bodies. Our apologies for the error. The entire press release is below.
The mystery is over following the summer discovery of three bodies in a Clover home.
The York County Coroner’s Office said Friday that it was a suicide by a man who knew that his mother and aunt had died years before and never notified anyone to remove their bodies.
Here is Coroner Sabrina Gast’s press release with the sad and disturbing details:
“On July 31, 2019, the York County Coroner’s Office responded to 331 Griggs Road in Clover to investigate three bodies that were found at the location during a well-being check from authorities. Upon entering the home, the first body found was identified as Thomas Gardner, Jr (DOB 7/3/1974).
“Mr. Gardner died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He left a note indicating that two other bodies were in the home, his aunt, Ruth Olivia Allred (DOB 12/19/1941) and his mother, Susan Gardner (DOB4/21/1950). Ms. Allred and Ms. Gardner were located in a bedroom of the home.
“In the letter left by Mr. Gardner, he indicated that Ms. Gardner had died in November of 2015 and Ms. Allred had died approximately six months later. The condition of the remains were consistent with the time frame given by Mr. Gardner. He indicated that he was afraid that he would be blamed for their deaths and that is why he did not contact authorities.
All three decedents underwent autopsy and toxicology testing. Thomas Gardner Jr. died as a result of self-inflicted gunshot wound. Manner of death is suicide. Ruth Allred cause of death is probable atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. Manner of death is natural. Susan Gardner cause of death is undetermined. Manner of death undetermined. No traumatic injuries were identified.”
York County sheriff’s detectives have no indication of foul play in the deaths of Ruth Allred or Susan Gardner, a press release says. However, it is believed Thomas Gardner Jr. wrapped the bodies and left them in a room of the home until their discovery on July 31st.
Detectives believe Thomas Gardner failed to report the deaths as to continue to benefit financially from government benefits, the sheriff’s office said. This case is administratively closed and no charges are filed.