It was Odell Cochran’s ready smile that his friends and co-workers are quick to mention when they remember the retired Conway police officer, who was slain late this past week.
Police found him with "injuries consistent with a homicide," according to a news release about the incident.
Folks who knew Cochran continue to be stunned by the news.
Thelma Brown, who worked as a dispatcher with the Conway Police Department for 28 years, was not over the shock when she talked about her former friend Friday morning.
“It’s a hurting thing because we worked together for so many years. For the law enforcement community, we all consider ourselves family…It’s devastating. It really is…I was devastated,” she said.
She described Cochran as one of the kindest people that anyone would ever want to meet.
“He never really ever met a stranger…He was just a kindhearted person, had a big heart,” Brown said.
She said she learned about the killing from her son, a Macon, Ga., resident who was friends with some of Cochran’s nephews when he lived in Conway.
She said many people knew Cochran apart from his policing duties because of his work as a part-time painter.
“The Conway Police Department if part of me, no matter how many years have passed,” Brown said, pointing out that with 38 years of service, Cochran had devoted more than half of his life to the CPD.
Theresa Tyler, an executive assistant at the Conway Police Department, was holding back tears Monday morning as she searched through pictures of her longtime friend.
“He came in January of 1978 and I came in April 1978, so you could say we grew up in here,” she said. It’s broke my heart because he was a truly good friend to me and we remained friends.
She said Cochran painted her home once before, and they were planning for him to do it again.
She said Cochran was a popular member of the department.
“It was his, I guess, you could say his disposition. He treated people the way he wanted to be treated and he never met a stranger, would give you the shirt off his back.”
She, too, says she was stunned when she heard about his death.
“I’ve cried ever since then…” she said.
Former city administrator Bill Graham also spoke of Cochran’s smile and easy-going personality.
“Odell was certainly a dedicated police officer, who served Conway well for many years. He was an outstanding role model for other police officers and a friend to all,” Graham said. “He loved Conway and Conway loved him.”
Graham said Cochran carried out his duties well, and people respected him for that.
“Every conversation I remember about him, he was always glad to see you…and smile, great attitude. It just came through in his service. You know that’s what you look for with community service with police officers and that showed through and people loved him for it, and they respected him. He had that love and respect. It was so helpful to him in carrying out his duties as a police officer,” he said.
A “viewing” is planned for this afternoon at Latimer’s Funeral Home from 2 p.m.-6:30 p.m. and Cochran’s funeral will held Tuesday at 1 p.m. in Friendship Missionary Baptist Church on Grainger Road in Conway.
A news release from the Horry County Police Department says officers were called to a home on Long Branch Road near Conway for a report of suspicious activity Thursday at about 6 p.m.
Police are continuing to look for Eric Kwajae-Mikhail Faulk, 22, of Conway in connection with the killing.
Police had been circulating a description of a truck they thought Faulk might be driving, but the truck has since been located.
Faulk is considered to be armed and dangerous and police are advising anyone who sees him not to approach him, but to call 911.
“Cochran served our department and citizens of Conway well and was loved by many in our community,” a statement from Conway spokesperson Taylor Newell said. “He retired with 25 years of service and then returned for 13 years as a community service officer,”
She said the department will assist with his funeral plans to give Cochran the full honors he deserves and has earned with his admirable service record.