Blythewood restaurant owner killed

Gaugenbaugh

BLYTHEWOOD – After popular Blythewood restaurateur, Lawrence James ‘Po’ Gaugenbaugh, was found dead in an abandoned home in the 1000 block of Wilson Boulevard on Tuesday, June 18, the employees of his Carolina Wings and Rib House are doing what they say he would have wanted – keeping the restaurant open and busy until they know what will happen with it.

A Michigan man and his girlfriend have been charged in connection with Gaugenbaugh’s death.

Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott held a press conference on Thursday, June 21, where he announced the arrest of Erick Young, 36, for the strangulation death of Gaugenbaugh. Young’s girlfriend Stacie Lynn Rose, 36, is facing charges in connection with moving Gaugenbaugh’s body after his death.

Lott said Gaugenbaugh had been reported missing by his employees on June 13, and that it was those employees who helped bring closure to the case.

Erick Young

They told authorities that Gaugenbaugh had been allowing a woman he had known in Michigan to stay in his apartment until she got a job and got settled, according to Lott. It was also reported that Rose was letting Young sneak into Gaugenbaugh’s apartment every day without Gaugenbaugh’s knowledge.

On the same day Gaugenbaugh was reported missing, Rose was arrested on trespassing charges at the apartments where Gaugenbaugh lived. Young was with her, but escaped from deputies. At that time, Lott said, deputies were not aware the pair was connected to Gaugenbaugh’s disappearance.

Stacie Rose

Young was arrested when he returned to the property a week later and some of Gaugenbaugh’s belongings were discovered in Young’s vehicle.

“I think helping someone out took his life,” Lott said about Gaugenbaugh.

Young was also charged with trespassing and possession of narcotics. Rose was charged with trespassing and accessory after the fact. Both are being held in the Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Columbia.

Gaugenbaugh was previously part owner of Caps Pizza restaurant that was located where Papa Johns is now in the McNulty Shopping Center.

“He always told us he had a plan for the restaurant in case anything ever happened to him. It’s in his will,” said Sandy Hare, who has worked at the restaurant for more than 10 years. The contents of the will have not been disclosed yet.

“He wasn’t just our boss, he was a great guy. He worked hard and everybody here loved him,” Hare told The Voice. “We were like family.”

Hare said employees and friends plan to hold a celebration of life for Po sometime in August.

“We’ll be letting everyone know as soon as things get settled,” Hare said.