Man Accused of Strangling His Mother, Dumping Her Body in River After Months-Long Investigation

Regina Arroyo's body was found in a South Carolina river on Dec. 3, 2023, authorities said. Her adult son has been charged with murder in connection with her death

<p> GoFundMe</p> Regina Arroyo


Regina Arroyo

A South Carolina man is accused of strangling his mother and dumping her body in a river last year, authorities said.

On July 2, the Lee County Sheriff’s Department announced in a statement that Terry Lee Self Jr., 37, has been charged with murder in connection with the death of his mother, Regina Arroyo. It’s unclear if he has entered a plea or retained an attorney to speak on his behalf.

According to WIS-TV, authorities said Arroyo, 56, went missing from Barnwell County on Nov. 30, 2023.

Arroyo’s loved ones said on a GoFundMe campaign created in the wake of her death that she disappeared after a “dog transport.” They added that her van, dogs and personal items were still at her home, which was unusual for her as someone who “dedicated her life to help save dogs from countless shelters.”

Three days later, on Dec. 3, 2023, a canoer found Arroyo’s body in the Edisto River, according to the sheriff’s department.

“Detectives confirmed the suspect and his mother were at the suspect’s house and left there together after an argument,” Lexington County Sheriff Jay Koon said in the statement.

Koon claimed that undisclosed evidence shows Self “used a ligature to strangle Arroyo” and then “dumped her body in the river and left.”

<p>Lexington County Sheriff's Department</p> Terry Lee Self Jr.

Lexington County Sheriff's Department

Terry Lee Self Jr.

Authorities did not share how they identified Self as a suspect after a seven-month long investigation or a possible motive for the killing.

“Detectives have been working on this case for seven months zeroing in on the person responsible Ms. Arroyo’s death,” Koon said in the statement. “We hope to give her family members and loved ones some sense of closure.”

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GoFundMe organizer Kristina Howley described Arroyo as one of the “one of the kindest, selfless, and undoubtedly loyal people I have ever met.”

The sheriff's department said Self is being held in Richland County at the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center on an unrelated charge. On Monday, July 1, Self appeared in court before a magistrate who denied him bond, they said.

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