Body found on West Side railroad tracks, police investigating homicide

By By Jack Suntrup
Staff writer
Charleston police found the body of Branda Basham, 22, of Charleston, on West Side railroad tracks Saturday morning. Lt. Steve Cooper called the death an “obvious homicide.”

A woman was found dead along railroad tracks Saturday morning on Charleston’s West Side and Charleston Police are investigating it as a homicide.

Officers were dispatched to the scene near Breece and Madison streets around 10:30 a.m. to find Branda Basham, 22, of Charleston, dead from gunshot wounds in what Lt. Steve Cooper, chief of detectives, called an “obvious homicide.”

As of Saturday afternoon, Charleston Police had not identified any suspects or persons of interest in the case.

“We are still processing that crime scene and interviewing individuals who may know her,” Cooper said. “And so at this point we’re basically starting from ground zero with this murder investigation.”

Cooper said detectives have received information that someone heard gunshots around 2:30 or 3 a.m. Saturday, and that anyone who heard the same -- or thought they heard fireworks -- should notify police.

“We’d like to hear from them,” Cooper said. “They may have witnessed something important that they don’t realize.”

Cooper said this is the first murder by gunshot the city has seen in months, and the case is top priority.

“Obviously, any time we have a case where someone’s life is taken, that is our highest priority case,” Cooper said. He said detectives are working “around the clock” to find who was responsible.

Basham was arrested in June as part of a prostitution sting on Charleston’s West Side.

Basham’s killing is the fourth suspected murder in Charleston in 2014. There was only one murder in the city in 2013.

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