A man found dead in a creek off the Whale Branch River last week is believed to have drowned, Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen said Wednesday.
The cause of death is preliminary, and final autopsy results aren’t expected for six to eight weeks, Allen said. The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is working to confirm the identify of the man, Capt. Bob Bromage said Wednesday.
Authorities say the man wore clothes similar to those Richard Heyward, 67, was wearing when he was reported missing from a Seabrook home Aug. 19.
A memorial service for Heyward is planned at Friendship Holiness Church in Stuart Point at noon Saturday, according to an obituary from Marshel’s Wright-Donaldson Home for Funerals. Heyward’s sister, Ethel Boson, said the service will be a celebration of Heyward’s life while the family awaits confirmation from the Sheriff’s Office.
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“We’re just trying to find closure now,” Boson said Wednesday.
Heyward worked at Naval Hospital Beaufort for more than 30 years before his retirement. He cooked, worked on the grounds and chauffeured enlisted personnel, Boson said.
He was also pastor at Healing Revival Deliverance Center in Burton for at least 25 years, his sister said.