Two women "detainees" chained in the back of a police van died when the vehicle was engulfed by Hurricane Florence floodwaters. Two deputies were rescued from the top of the van, and Horry County officials say they tried to get the women out.
On Wednesday, a report in KOAA identified the victims as Windy Wenton, 45, and Nicolette Green, 43.
"They're still under the water", Richardson told the AP on Wednesday morning.
Thompson said it took rescue crews about 45 minutes to find the van and get to it via boat. "Just like you, we have questions we want answered".
Tuesday night, with the van still underwater, state police were on the way to the scene, a South Carolina Law Enforcement Division spokesperson told a local news station.
Thompson said he wasn't sure what prevented the deputies from opening the van's rear door to save the women.
Justin Bamberg, a state lawmaker and lawyer who has represented the families of several people injured or killed by law enforcement officers, said Wednesday he's perplexed by the decision to transport anyone in such uncertain weather conditions.
As the van traveled on Highway 76, it was met by rising floodwaters, the Horry County Sheriff's Office said.
Carolinas Interstate 95 Shut Down Again Great Pee Dee flooding shuts down thoroughfare
They traveled northwest, on their way to Darlington about 100 miles away, across an obstacle course of blocked roads and swollen waters.
The Little Pee Dee River reached major flood stage after Hurricane Florence battered the Carolinas over the weekend and is expected to crest at 16 feet on September 21, seven feet higher than flood stage.
They had to suspend recovery efforts due to rising water.
Thompson said his office was responding to court orders to transport the women from a hospital and a mental-health center.
US President Donald Trump helps with flood relief supplies in North Carolina. Earlier Wednesday, Marion County Coroner Jerry Richardson had identified Newton with a different last name.
The two individuals being transported were confirmed dead by the Marion County coroner.
The two deputies "attempted to extricate the persons being transported", the agency said in its statement.
The incident brings Florence's death toll to 37. At this time, the recovery effort is ongoing, and the transportation vehicle can not be removed due to rising waters and unsafe conditions. In March, Christopher Bennett died after eating drugs and suffering medical issues, a SLED investigation found.More news: Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne targets blockbuster return from knee injury