Beaufort city police are investigating the discovery of an unidentified body in the marsh off Waters Edge Court at about 1:20 p.m. Monday.
Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy said it was too early Monday evening to say whether the death was accidental or suspicious. A cause of death is expected after an autopsy at 10 a.m. today.
Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said his office had tentatively identified the body Monday, but would not release details until after the autopsy.
The body was discovered by Clyde Ariail who had seen vultures circling near his neighbor's dock Sunday evening, but shrugged it off, figuring the birds were roosting for the night.
By Monday afternoon, however, it became apparent something was wrong. After discovering the body, he ran home to call 911.
Police rarely get called to the small cul-de-sac of single-family homes along the marsh, Clancy said. Ariail described it as a quiet, peaceful neighborhood.
When the scene was cleared, Ariail picked up his watering can in an attempt to keep busy and clear his mind.
"I enjoy gardening," he said. "It's therapeutic for me, so I'll probably be doing a lot in the next few days."
As for the dock where he has spent many evenings since moving to the neighborhood in August, he's not so sure that will ever be the same for him.
"I usually love coming out here and watching the sunset, but I usually do that by myself, and I don't know if I want to do that anymore."
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/EyeOnBeaufort.