Mom Abandons 3 Children on 'Cemetery Island' After Camping Trip: Sheriff

The Anderson County Sheriff's Office said a missing woman was arrested after allegedly abandoning her three children on Cemetery Island, known locally as "Ghost Island."

Deputies in South Carolina said the three children, aged between 12 and 15, were found on Cemetery Island by a passing boater at around 3:45 p.m on June 14.

According to WYFF4, the children said they were camping on the island the night prior with their mom, Courtney Taylor, and her boyfriend, Eric Elrod.

The two adults reportedly left the island earlier in the morning, telling the children they were leaving to get water, but never returned.

Cemetery Island arrest
Left: Cemetery Island on Google Maps. Right: Stock image of a police car. Getty Images

Initially, Taylor was classed as a missing person with the sheriff's office sharing her image online.

Both Taylor and Elrod were entered into the National Crime Information Center database as missing persons, as reported by WYFF4. The vehicle that they had traveled in was gone from its parking space, but was later found.

Cemetery Island is also known as Ghost Island, thanks to the 59 family graves residing on the land which belong to the owners of a plantation that used to sit there. Now, it's public land which visitors use to birdwatch, fish, camp or use as a "spooky attraction." However, it is reportedly only reachable by kayak or motorboat.

Detectives were unable to make contact with Taylor while she was missing but did not believe her to be in any danger.

On Tuesday, detectives learned that Taylor had allegedly been in contact with her ex-husband and children, and was also seen in the area by acquaintances.

Taylor was located by the Anderson County Sheriff's Office and charged with three counts of child neglect. Elrod is still wanted for allegedly distributing methamphetamine but has still not been found.

Anyone with information is being asked to call 864-260-4405 referencing ACSO case number 2022-08094, or contact Crimestoppers at 1-888-CRIME-SC, which is 1-888-274-6372.

Newsweek has contacted the Anderson County Sheriff's Office for comment.

In February, a mom was arrested in Ohio after her five-year-old son was found wandering around Colerain Township alone, as reported by Newsweek. The young boy is autistic and was abandoned "at least" a few hours before being picked up.

While being questioned, the mom said that she was from Shelbyville and had three children, including one with autism claiming that all three were safe with friends. She also claimed to have received treatment for meth and heroin addiction at a Georgetown hospital earlier on Sunday.

According to the website of criminal defense attorney David A. Breston, child abandonment sentencing can range from between six months to 20 years imprisonment, depending on the severity of the case.