Horry County Police Department Teams with Othram to Identify the Persons Responsible for the 2018 Murders of Robert and Robbie Ford

Using advanced DNA testing and forensic genetic genealogy, the persons responsible for the 2018 murder of a father and his son have been identified.

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Published April 25 by Michael Vogen
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On August 18, 2018, the Horry County Police Department responded to a report of an abandoned vehicle in the area of Cookes Circle and Highway 917. They found a 2005 Ford Escape registered to Robert Marion Ford, Jr. that had been partially burned. Other officers responded to the Ford home and found Robert Marion Ford, Jr., 59, and his son, Robbie Stetson Ford, 25, shot to death in their yard.

Crime Scene Investigators processed the scene of the abandoned car and found three cigarette butts on the ground outside the driver’s door. They also found a partially burned skull cap on the driver side floor board. A DNA profile was developed from the cigarette butts and the skull cap. That profile could not be matched to anyone and the case went unsolved for two years.

As part of their investigation, the Horry County Police Department partnered with Othram in hopes that forensic genetic genealogy could assist in identifying the person responsible for murdering the father and son and whose DNA was found at the scene of the burned car. Othram’s in-house genealogy team performed forensic genetic genealogy research to generate new leads about the suspect’s probable identity. Othram provided leads to Horry County Police Department investigators, who were able to collect a reference DNA sample from Randy Dean Grainger of Loris, South Carolina.

Grainger was arrested in August, 2020 and charged with multiple crimes, including two counts of murder. He stood trial beginning April 3, 2023, in Horry County, South Carolina. A jury convicted him of two counts of murder, two counts of criminal conspiracy, third degree arson, and possession of a weapon during a violent crime. On April 6, 2023, Grainger was sentenced to two consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Samantha Ford Rabon and Teresa Ann Martin were also arrested and charged as part of the murder investigation. Samantha Rabon, the daughter of Robert Marion Ford, Jr. and the half-sister of Robbie Stetson Ford, was charged with two counts of murder and two counts of criminal conspiracy for her alleged role in the plot to kill her father and brother. No trial date has been set at this time. Teresa Ann Martin had prior knowledge of the murder plot and transported Grainger to the victims’ home and later picked him up a short distance from the burned car. Martin pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact on April 3, 2023, agreed to testify against Grainger and Rabon, and will be sentenced at the conclusion of Rabon’s trial.

Funeral services for Robert and Robbie Ford were held on August 25, 2018. Both men were interred at Good Hope Baptist Church Cemetery in Conway, South Carolina.

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Michael Vogen

Michael Vogen

Director of Case Management

2829 Technology Forest Blvd Suite 100, The Woodlands, Texas 77381

Michael works with law enforcement agencies throughout the United States and Canada on “unsolvable“ cases that can benefit from advanced DNA testing methods. He helps these agencies use cutting edge DNA sequencing and new forensic techniques to develop investigative leads for their cases.

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About Othram Inc.

Othram is the world’s first private DNA laboratory built specifically to apply the power of modern parallel sequencing to forensic evidence. Othram’s scientists are experts at ... Read morerecovery, enrichment, and analysis of human DNA from trace quantities of degraded or contaminated materials. Founded in 2018, and located in The Woodlands, Texas, our team works with academic researchers, forensic scientists, medical examiners, and law enforcement agencies to achieve results when other approaches have failed. Follow Othram on Twitter @OthramTech or visit Othram.com to learn how we can help you with your case. With dnasolves.com anyone can make a difference and help solve the next cold case.