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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WBTW) — The Horry County Coroner’s Office says it is continuing to deal with a lack of body storage space as the county continues to grow.
Coroner Robert Edge said more than two years ago that the coroner’s office needed a bigger facility. They’ve seen minimal change since then.
For the past few years, the coroner’s office has had a 16-unit cooler. It expects to receive another one in the next six months.
“On average, we’ll probably do 5 or 6 calls every day at least,” Edge said. “Some days, it might be under that, but there might be some days that you have twice that.”
Edge told News13 in 2021 that the coroner’s office would get about 3,000 calls per year. Now, he says they see about 4,000-5,000 calls.
“[We’re] kind of getting maxed out and our ability to hold more people is diminishing every day, or every week with these people,” he said.
Edge showed a News13 reporter their 16-unit cooler, where five to six bodies were currently being held. He said they’ve gotten by through quick turnover, with funeral homes frequently picking up families’ loved ones.
Edge said a new 16-unit cooler would give them 32 spaces within the coroner’s office.
“The ones that we won’t be able to find family for real fast, we’ll put the long-termers in the back cooler and keep the ones up front for the fast turnover stuff,” he said.
Horry County has seen large growth in recent years, with many people moving to and retiring in the area. Edge said they get maxed out about 25 to 30 times per year and have to seek outside help to store bodies.
“It’s been a little bit of a problem,” he said. “As I’ve said, we’ve got some storage from other places and there are a couple of funeral homes that we rely on too, but as people are moving in, it’s going to be more of a problem.”
Edge said a new facility is in the works within the next 10 years, but the county is still waiting for more money to pay for it.
He hopes the new cooler will be a short-term solution while they wait.
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Adrianna Lawrence is a multimedia journalist at News13. Adrianna is originally from Virginia Beach, Virginia, and joined the News13 team in June 2023 after graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in May 2023. Keep up with Adrianna on Instagram, Facebook, and X, formerly Twitter. You can also read more of her work, here.