Coroner releases cause of death for UofSC student reported missing, then found dead

Sam Laundon was reported missing Saturday afternoon.
Samuel Laundon was reported missing around 1 p.m. Saturday.
Samuel Laundon was reported missing around 1 p.m. Saturday.(RCSD)
Updated: Oct. 12, 2020 at 11:44 PM EDT
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Officials at the University of South Carolina confirmed the passing of one of their students Monday morning.

Sam Laundon, a 19-year-old junior at UofSC, was out with friends early Saturday morning when they got lost, deputies with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said.

Friends say he hopped a fence and did not climb back over the railing at a quarry near Rosewood Drive not far from the Olylmpia-Granby area.

Search crews found a body matching his description Sunday evening in the Vulcan Quarry.

Monday morning, UofSC said the coroner’s office confirmed the body found was Laundon.

“This morning we received confirmation from the Richland County Coroner’s Office of the death of one of our students over the weekend, junior Sam Laundon. Our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers are with Sam’s family and friends as they grieve his loss. Counseling services are available to students, faculty and staff impacted by this tragedy.”

The coroner’s office said Laundon, who was from Cary, North Carolina, died from blunt force trauma to the head and body.

People who live near the quarry describe the area as dangerous, saying it’s a steep drop from the road into the area where Laundon was found.

Coroner Gary Watts gave thanks to the Columbia Fire Department “for conducting a very dangerous and difficult recovery mission.”

The coroner’s office and RCSD are still investigating.

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