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.