HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) – The human remains discovered off of Tidewater Road in December 2013 belonged to a 35-to-60-year-old man, according to a report from the Horry County Coroner's Office.
The preliminary report, published on a national missing person's website and confirmed by the coroner's office, gives new details on the human remains found on December 28, 2013 by teams searching for missing 20-year-old Heather Elvis.
According to the report, the remains belong to a white man, 35 to 60 years old, an estimated 5-foot-7-inches in height, who probably died between 2001 and 2012.
Based on the condition of the remains, the body sustained facial and rib trauma at some point, according to Horry County Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard. It is possible the trauma occurred from a car accident, but there is no way to know if the facial and rib trauma happened at the same time.
Along with the remains, investigators found sun-bleached greenish-yellow swim trunks, and a yellow and white metal chain with a yellow and white metal cross, according to the report. The cross has several clear stones in it, and "Spikes" engraved on the back.
WMBF News found a website called "Spikes Steel Jewelry" selling a similar cross online. Willard said she would check to see if it was the same company.
Coroner Edge confirmed that the remains are human, and the larger bones were packed up and sent off to a lab in Texas for DNA testing - a rush order to identify them in case they are connected to any of the unsolved missing persons cases in Horry County. The remains have been in the Waccamaw area for years, according to Lt. Robert Kegler with the Horry County Police Department. As of mid-February, the remains have yet to be DNA tested by the Texas lab.
A search team looking for Heather Elvis, missing since December 18, came across the remains in a wooded area off Tidewater Road near Waccamaw Boulevard and contacted police. Officers collected the remains, and now the case is being investigated.
The bones were scattered across 100 yards of the wooded area, Lt. Kegler said, leading officers to believe an animal could have possibly moved them around.
Coroner Edge said that he is not aware of any families of missing persons being contacted yet. If clothes had been found with the bones, police would have contacted families to see if they recognized the clothes.
Once the DNA analysis results come back, the coroner will be able to search the DNA samples on file in Horry County to see if there is a match to a missing persons case. The DNA test results could take months to come back, Edge said.
Edge said they hope to identify these remains soon and bring closure, adding, "Everyone hopes it is their loved one, and we're trying to get it done as fast as possible so not to drag it out more than it needs to be."