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Woman’s head found in creek, week after a dog dug up human bone, SC coroner says

Searcher look for human remains in Seneca, South Carolina.
Searcher look for human remains in Seneca, South Carolina. Seneca Police Department

A week after a dog dug up a bone in his owner’s yard that turned out to be human remains, searchers discovered more of a missing woman’s body Monday, the Seneca Police Department said.

A head and upper torso were found Monday, and “are presumed to be associated with the remains discovered last week,” Oconee County Coroner Karl Addis said in a news release.

Both the head and torso are “in a state of advanced decomposition,” according to Addis, who has scheduled an autopsy for Thursday.

The remains were found near the end of Monday’s search, police said in a news release.

Just as the group of about 35 searchers was being recalled, members of the Seneca Fire Department found the body parts while scouring a nearby tributary creek, according to police.

The new discoveries were turned over to the coroner for forensic examination, police said in the release.

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.

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.

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.

The woman most likely died within the past few months, and no longer than a year ago, Addis said.

Information on her cause of death was unavailable.

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 in his news release.

Police are asking area residents to report “anything of a suspicious nature that has been found or observed.”

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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.
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