Horry Co. Coroner’s Office hopes to identify bodies as it nears capacity

Published: Nov. 20, 2023 at 11:20 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 20, 2023 at 11:23 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - The Horry County Coroner’s Office is nearly full as coroners continue to work cases, and more unidentified bodies come through the doors making it difficult to lower capacity.

The office is holding onto more than a dozen bodies in its cooler right now but can only handle 16 of them at a time.

Officials said they’d like to be able to move some of those bodies over to their final resting places but struggle waiting on identification and finding next of kin.

In the event the office reaches capacity, Horry County Coroner, Robert Edge, said they’ll use funeral homes across the Grand Strand as they work to identify those people.

State law requires the coroner’s office to hold onto the bodies until that person is either identified or claimed by family or friends.

“There may be an ID in there, but they may not be easily recognizable based on that picture for whatever reason,” Chief Deputy Coroner Tamara Willard said. “Not necessarily trauma reasons, but maybe they changed their hair color, maybe they lost or gained weight or whatever, We can’t just say because we found an ID.”

When it comes to homeless people, officials said, it’s hard to get an identification on a person, let alone, find family members.

The Horry County Coroner’s Office said all members work patrol shifts due to the nature of the profession, saying that can add to delays in identifying any person.

Officials also said they will be bringing on a new coroner to the office, filling their sixth spot.