Horry County Coroner needs help identifying man who died two years ago

NORTH MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WBTW) – The start of 2018 marks two years the Horry County Coroner's Office and the Horry County Police Department have been trying to identify a man who they say drowned in a North Myrtle Beach pool.

"We don't know where he came from or anything at all about him, "said Coroner Robert Edge.

Detective King Hemingway with the Horry County Police Department responded to the death investigation and says they've done everything they can do to identify him.

"He did not have any tattoos, we ran APHIS a fingerprint scanning. He didn't have any prints in the system. I believe we did a DNA test also and didn't get any results back from that. We put his picture out on the news, SLED sent it out to several outlets trying to assist with identifying him and every effort we made didn't yield any results," said Hemingway.

The man, known only as "John Doe", was found in a swimming pool in North Myrtle Beach in February of 2016.

"There were no signs of any foul play or not any broken bones or things that we could determine. These are things that you look for in autopsies, something might give you a lead if somebody calls in and says ‘well, my son fell and broke his arm in 1960'. We look for that break to see if it's there," said Edge.

Edge says they've had more unidentified bodies and unclaimed bodies in Horry County than they've ever had in the past over the last few years.

"A year ago, we did a mass burial of 73 people who were homeless. We had a marker put up and had their names put on it, and if it comes to that, we'll do the same thing with this person," said Edge.

He says on average, about four thousand people die in Horry County each year, and between 50-75 of those people aren't claimed by friends or family members.

With the homeless population increasing in Horry County, Edge says he expects that number to go up to 100 unclaimed bodies in 2018.

Still, even if the coroner's office finds the family, often times, Edge says they won't claim the relative because of the financial burden or because they've lost touch with the family member.

Edge says judging by the clothes "John Doe" was wearing when he died, he doesn't believe he was homeless, and wants help from the community to find his family.

"I really feel like this guy is going to be from 150-200 miles away from around here. We have a lot of people from North Carolina, Charlotte area, Greensboro, Winston Salem that come to Myrtle Beach to vacation. I'm hoping somebody in that area might recognize him and will call us back. It would be good to have some closure for him and maybe give his family some closure too," said Edge.

If you know anything about the man, you're asked to call the Horry County Police Department.


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