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Murder victims were 'Almost as innocent as children'

10th anniversary commemorated at City Park today

Published on Wednesday, May 15, 2013

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'We’re living this case daily. I pass Kevin often. I can’t imagine what he is thinking, he doesn’t say anything. He has put his faith in us.'
Det. Dale Arterburn

Julie McCombs

'We’re living this case daily. I pass Kevin often. I can’t imagine what he is thinking, he doesn’t say anything. He has put his faith in us.'

Det. Dale Arterburn



Enlarge photo

'They were about as innocent as they could be. Almost as innocent as children. They didn’t do anything to put themselves in that position at all.'
Lt. Eric Pressley

Julie McCombs

'They were about as innocent as they could be. Almost as innocent as children. They didn’t do anything to put themselves in that position at all.'

Lt. Eric Pressley



Enlarge photo

Do you have information or know someone who may have information that could help solve this case? Please call:
Det. Dale Arterburn, 864-848-5354, darterburn@cityofgreer.org
Lt. Eric Pressley, 864-848-2188, epressley@cityofgreer.org.
Greer Police Department, 102 South Main Street, Greer, SC  29650.
Phone: 864-848-2151
Fax: 864-416-0112
Greenville CrimeStoppers at 864-232-7463.
Greenville FBI office at 864-232-3807.
A reward is being offered by CrimeStoppers.

Julie McCombs

Do you have information or know someone who may have information that could help solve this case? Please call:

Det. Dale Arterburn, 864-848-5354, [email protected]

Lt. Eric Pressley, 864-848-2188, [email protected]

Greer Police Department, 102 South Main Street, Greer, SC  29650.

Phone: 864-848-2151

Fax: 864-416-0112

Greenville CrimeStoppers at 864-232-7463.

Greenville FBI office at 864-232-3807.

A reward is being offered by CrimeStoppers.

Ten years ago to the day Greer Police Det. Dale Arterburn can remember having lunch at Fatz with some co-workers. “It was a quiet day and I ordered French onion soup. I never got to eat it,” Arterburn recalled.

Lt. Eric Pressley, that same fateful day, was in Greenville. “I was standing in the rain in the middle of the park.”

Simultaneously, the lives and careers of Arterburn and Pressley would change forever.

“I got a call that a bank had been turned over near I-85 off Frontage Road. I thought, ‘We don’t have a bank on Frontage Road.’”

At about 1:30 p.m., May 16, 2003, law enforcement officials believe that two male suspects went into Blue Ridge Savings Bank of Greer, on E. Frontage Road near I-85. The lone bank teller, Sylvia Holtzclaw, 56, and Spartanburg couple James and Margaret Barnes were fatally shot during a robbery in the single-wide mobile home that served as the bank.

Pressley measures his answers to questions about the heinous crime. “They were about as innocent as they could be. Almost as innocent as children. They didn’t do anything to put themselves in that position at all,” Pressley said.

“She (Sylvia Holtzclaw) was a pillar in the community. We want to keep their spirit alive,” Arterburn said.

The 10th anniversary of the Blue Ridge Savings bank robbery and triple murder will be commemorated Thursday at 1 p.m. at the City Park Amphitheater. At 1:29 p.m. there will be a moment of silence and three chimes will ring to represent the three victims.

Pressley and Arterburn said they still live the triple murder every day and bear the weight of bringing closure to the case. “It’s left up to God and to us,” Hamby said.

Distinct memories remain a decade later. “I can still smell the potpourri that was in the bank that day,” Arterburn said. “Every time I come across that smell it takes me back.”

The investigation was so intense the officers had a difficult time finding time for anything else.

“That whole first year was hard on my family,” Arterburn said. “We worked 16-hours a day, every day. The first three to three-and-a half months they would say, ‘take a day off.’ But you don’t know how to stop. On a day off I was not good to be around.”

“It’s wasn’t just us affected by this case. It was our family at home,” Pressley said.

The community rallied around the police department, whose office at the time is where the training center now exists.

“We would get a knock on the door and three meals a day would be brought to us. Somebody took it upon themselves to organize it,” Arterburn said. “We still don’t know who was responsible and we sent thank you cards to the people and churches who provided the meals.”

“Events like this just don’t happen,” Pressley said. “It scared the community to some degree. And in some degree it brought the community together again.”

Arterburn worries his 17 years on the job means he may be running out of time to bring closure to the case for the Holtzclaw families.  Pressley is a 20-year veteran.

“We’re living this case daily. I pass Kevin (a firefighter stationed next door to police headquarters) often,” Arterburn said. “I can’t imagine what he is thinking, he doesn’t say anything. He has put his faith in us.”

Pressley and Arterburn, virtually try to make a connection with anyone that they talk with to the triple murder. “The person of interest – that person is deceased. As big as this crime is, there is still somebody out there that knows something about it,” Arterburn said. “It’s always on our mind. There’s a poster in my office I face every day. I try to link somebody with it by asking them, ‘Have you heard something about . . .”

Pressley said Thursday’s memorial service is an opportunity to keep the case fresh in the minds of the public. “We’re still hopeful. We’re looking for closure, resolution of this daily,” Pressley said.

The investigators said every technical advancement was used during the investigation. FBI, SLED, other entities helped,” Arterburn said. “We even had NASA help with video enhancement.” Evidence is secured in several sites.

Tips continue to come in and every one is followed up. “We received more tips last year than in years past,” Pressley said. “It seemed like we got more letters. We don’t want people to think we’ve forgot.”

“It’s not a cold case.  Every time the anniversary comes up, it reminds the public that we are still investigating,” Arterburn said.

Pressley and Arterburn wishfully hope for a large crowd to attend the remembrance, as much to honor the Holtzclaw family as to keep conversations ongoing, hoping something will click for an individual to report it to the police.

“We want to focus on David and Kevin, and the family,” Arterburn said. “The families have no closure. We will keep doing what we do to keep this case alive, until it’s solved. We’ve got one shot. We don’t like to be beaten.”

“We can’t stress enough we want people to call in,” Pressley said.

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