Authorities call SC shootings murder-suicide

Police said Jessica Edens shot and killed a female acquaintance of her husband's and then killed her two children before committing suicide Thursday. (Photo credit: Greenville News)

Police are still untangling a twisted web in two Upstate counties after they say a woman shot and killed a female acquaintance of her husband's, then killed her two children before committed suicide.

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Police said 36-year-old Jessica Edens of Easley was the gunman in the shootings.

Pickens County coroner Kandy Kelley confirmed Edens, her 5-year-old daughter Harper Edens and 9-year-old son Hayden King were found dead at Greenville-Pickens Speedway from gunshot wounds to the head.

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They were found in a black Jeep that had been reported as a suspect vehicle by the Greenville City Police Department after 28-year-old Meredith Rahme was found shot dead in her vehicle in a downtown parking garage.

Although authorities did not go into details about a motive, they did call it a domestic situation that had escalated to online harassment. Rahme worked with Edens' husband, Ben, and they also lived in the same apartment complex.

"From what we have gathered, Jessica Edens and [Ben] were separated at time of incident, and there were custody issues regarding one of the two children, a child they have in common," Greenville Police Chief Ken Miller said.

That child was Harper Edens, a rising kindergartner at Forest Acres Elementary School in Easley.

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Rahme worked with Ben Edens, and they both lived at the new Main and Stone apartment complex in downtown Greenville. Rahme's body was found in the complex's parking garage Thursday afternoon around 5 p.m.

Police say Rahme and Ben Edens had separated from their respective partners within the last six months. There has been no official word on whether the two were romantically involved.

Jessica Edens had began harassing Rahme online, to the point where she and Ben had both called police about the situation several times within the past few weeks.

"Over the course of the last, maybe, three weeks, there were three calls to police -- two here in Greenville, in the city, one to Easley. The one to Easley occurred, I believe, Tuesday to ask Easley police to check on the welfare of the children," Miller said.

That last call was made by Ben Edens. Police said Edens and Rahme were concerned about messages and posts Jessica had been sending to and about Rahme on various social media sites, and to her phone.

Rahme called Greenville police on June 23, and Ben Edens called GPD the following day.

Police said Rahme had also separated from her partner within the last 6 months, but they didn't say whether she was married.

Jessica Edens used a .40 caliber handgun in the killings, police said.

Jessica lived on Creekside Way, in Easley with her 9-year-old son, Hayden, and 5-year-old daughter, Harper.

Diane Lloyd has been a neighbor of the Edens for about 2-years, and said she watched the kids play across the street. She said she can't let go of how unbelievable those final minutes must have been for the children.

"My god, what would you say to them, you know, before you were going to kill them," Lloyd wondered. "I just -- it breaks my heart."

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