Latest News

Autopsy on woman’s head and torso found in SC creek leaves coroner with questions

Days after searchers found more of a missing woman’s body in a South Carolina creek, an autopsy was performed Thursday on the head and torso, the Oconee County coroner said.

While the examination confirmed that the head and torso belonged to the other body parts discovered after a dog dug up a human bone on June 17, the autopsy did not answer all of the questions, Coroner Karl Addis said in a news release.

The woman, called Jane Doe by the coroner, still remains unidentified, according to the news release.

Additionally, no cause of death was determined in the autopsy, which Addis said was “inconclusive.”

The coroner said more anthropology studies will be needed for the investigation into the woman’s death, and they could take anywhere from weeks to months to be performed.

Some new information was released and other confirmations were made following the autopsy.

A coroner investigates deaths of persons dying from criminal violence, accidents, suicide, sudden unexpected deaths (without an attending physician), any suspicious or unusual circumstances, or when the decedent is unidentified. Here's a look.

While the head and torso are “in a state of advanced decomposition,” the coroner still believes the woman most likely died within the past few months, and no longer than a year ago, according to the news release.

The woman had no teeth, and it “appeared she has had no teeth for a while,” Addis said.

Additionally, the woman was wearing an athletic-type, multi-colored sports bra, which was from the “Be Inspired” brand of clothes, according to the news release.

The specific size and colors are not being released to the public, as those details might be helpful for investigators.

The search began June 17 after a homeowner’s dog unearthed a large bone in the yard of his Asbury Drive home, The State reported. The residence is less than 10 miles outside Clemson.

The bone was studied by a forensic pathologist and forensic anthropologist, who determined the right pelvic bone and right femur that were discovered belonged to a woman, the coroner said, according to The State.

Preliminary studies show the bones came from a white woman who was between 25 to 45 years old and was about 5-foot-1 to 5-foot-7, according to the coroner.

Armed with this information, police launched a “large-scale search of the area,” which included cadaver dogs. Police said it spilled over to a nearby creek and more partial human remains were discovered.

That led to Monday’s discovery of the head and torso in a nearby tributary creek by members of the Seneca Fire Department, according to the Seneca Police Department.

The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division is assisting in the search, and samples of the recovered bones have been sent to its forensics lab to try and recover DNA from the remains to compare against “known missing persons, including the two recently reported missing women from Oconee County,” the coroner said.

Addis said no information has been shared on results from the DNA testing.

Related stories from Hilton Head Island Packet

Noah Feit is a Real Time reporter with The State and McClatchy Carolinas Regional Team. The award-winning journalist has worked for multiple newspapers since starting his career in 1999.
  Comments