Autopsy shows Saluda County man found next to a pond was shot to death

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Published: Nov. 22, 2022 at 8:59 PM EST
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SALUDA, S.C. (WIS) - An autopsy reveals that a 22-year-old Saluda County man, whose body was found next to a pond over the weekend, was shot to death.

A hunter discovered Ridge Spring native Zonnie Cyrus’ body on Hiland Farm Road in Monetta shortly after 11 A.M. Saturday.

RELATED STORY: Saluda Co. coroner identifies man after body found near pond

The Saluda County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday that Cyrus was shot seven times, and investigators believe he was murdered on that little-known dirt road.

The investigation has determined that Cyrus was shot and killed sometime between 11 P.M. Friday and 5 A.M. Saturday, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

Following the release of the autopsy results, Brittney Cyrus, one of Zonnie’s cousins, said that knowing how her cousin died eases her mind a little bit, but she won’t be fully at peace until the person who did this is found and charged.

Brittney said she is more confident Tuesday that someone will be held accountable for his death.

On Monday, she made this plea to the community, asking anyone with information to step forward and provide it to the Sheriff’s Office.

RELATED STORY: Death of Saluda County man whose body was found near pond ruled a homicide, family pleads for justice

“I know people don’t want to talk,” Brittney said. “But the only thing we keep hearing is gossiping, gossiping from left to right. But if you know more than what you know, it’s okay. People could call you a snitch, rat whatever. That right there shouldn’t matter when it’s dealing with a child that lost his life who was still growing that had so much to look forward to.”

Willie Morris, who works as a farm manager at Holstein Farms, which is about a mile away from where Cyrus’ body was found, said most of the land in the area is family-owned and the roads are not well-traveled.

He called the circumstances surrounding Cyrus’ death “mighty peculiar.”

“There’s not too many people that even know that road,” Morris said. “Because we got twists and turns and because that road goes all the way through and comes back up this house up here. It’s a bunch of little nooks and crannies in these roads and stuff so you have to know them.”

WIS spoke with several other neighbors who live within a one-mile radius of where Cyrus was shot and killed. Each of them declined to comment.

Morris said it is a tight-knit community. While Morris did not know Zonnie, he knows his father.

“He’s a pretty good fella,” Morris of Zonnie’s father. “I’ve been knowing him for a long time and stuff. Mostly I know all the Cyruses just about, anyway, but this is something that I never would’ve thought would’ve happened in a million years.”

Morris said this is a low-crime area, and on Monday Saluda County Sheriff Joshua Price told WIS that Saluda is a very safe county.

The Sheriff’s Office is working closely with the Saluda County Coroner’s Office and the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division to investigate this case.

Sheriff Price said investigators are waiting on SLED forensic results based on evidence collected at the scene.

At this point, the Sheriff’s Office has not identified any suspects or motives.

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