Two arrested in death of 15-year-old Columbia girl, with new charges including murder

Police have found a teenager they were searching for and have charged him with eight offenses, including murder, in connection with the death of a 15-year-old Columbia girl.

The Lexington County Sheriff’s Department charged 18-year-old Treveon Nelson of Cayce with murder, rape, two counts of kidnapping, aggravated assault, criminal conspiracy and two weapon offenses, court records showed. Deputies arrest him Friday evening in Leesville. The department also arrested an unidentified minor female but did not list the charges. The minor is being held at the state’s juvenile prison in Columbia.

The victim, Sanaa Amenhotep, of northeast Columbia, was reported missing by her mother on April 5. The Richland County Sheriff’s Department investigated her disappearance. Her father began

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Sanaa’s body was found Thursday morning in a wooded area off Rish Drive in Leesville of Lexington County, the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said. She was killed by multiple gunshots, likely on April 5, Lexington County Coroner Margaret Fisher said.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department charged an unidentified minor with kidnapping Wednesday, Sheriff Leon Lott said at a Thursday news conference. He also announced that police were looking for at least one more teenager and Nelson, who Lott said was responsible for Sanaa’s death.

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According to the Richland County Sheriff’s Department, Sanaa probably left her northeast Columbia home voluntarily with another teen girl she knew and the two males. During the course of that night, Lott said, the situation turned into a kidnapping, and that’s when she was “murdered.” Lott said the case involved gang activity.

Sanaa was a ninth grader at Richland Northeast High School, according to the Richland 2 school district. “Our collective hearts are heavy with sympathy,” a district spokesperson said.

In March, police charged Nelson with domestic violence and unlawfully carrying a pistol, court records showed. He got out of jail on a $7,000 bond. Court records report that Nelson failed to show up for a hearing for his domestic violence charge.

Nelson is jailed at Lexington County Detention Center. Since he is charged with murder, a state judge will have to determine if he gets bond or not. That hearing will be scheduled later.

The death penalty could be on the table if the state is able to prove Sanaa was kidnapped and killed. The death penalty only applies to homicides with aggravating factors, including if the killing was done along with another crime such as kidnapping or rape.

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