Autopsy 'inconclusive' on body found in Beaufort marsh

pdonohue@beaufortgazette.comApril 17, 2012 

An autopsy Tuesday failed to shed light on how the body of a 47-year-old man reported missing more than a week ago wound up in a marsh near a Beaufort neighborhood, authorities say.

Henry Lee Brown, 47, of Beaufort was identified by the Beaufort County Coroner's Office after his body was fished from a marsh Monday off Water's Edge Court, where it was discovered by a nearby resident.

Brown had been dead for nearly a week when his body was found, according to the Coroner's Office. He was reported missing by relatives April 10, Coroner Ed Allen said.

Though authorities now know Brown's identity and when he died, they are no closer to determining how he died, Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy said.

Clancy said a medical examiner at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston could not determine a cause of Brown's death after finding no signs of physical trauma on his body during an autopsy Tuesday.

Investigators are awaiting results of a toxicology test and other exams that might provide clues, Clancy said.

Authorities gave no timetable for the release of those results or other findings from the autopsy.

Meanwhile, Clancy said investigators will continue to treat Brown's death as a homicide.

"A suspicious case is always treated as a homicide until evidence shows otherwise," Clancy said.

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