Originally created 07/31/00

Remains discovered in pickup



AIKEN - Firefighters made a gruesome discovery Sunday after extinguishing a burning truck in a densely wooded area near the intersection of South Carolina Highway 19 and Croft Mill Road.

A man was found dead in the cab of his pickup about 50 yards into the woods, Aiken County sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank said. The body could not be identified Sunday, he said.

An Aiken Department of Public Safety officer was on his way to work at 2:45 p.m. when he saw smoke coming from the woods. He investigated and found a truck on fire about 50 yards off the road, Lt. Frank said.

Aiken Department of Public Safety firefighters put out the flames and found the charred remains of a man, said Aiken County Deputy Coroner Darryl Ables.

The man was apparently traveling south on Highway 19 when his 1983 Ford pickup went off the left side of the road and down through the woods, said South Carolina Highway Patrol Sgt. Tony Bell.

The truck collided with a tree and burst into flames, the sergeant said.

"At this point, there does not appear to be anything suspicious or criminal about this death," Lt. Frank said. "But that's one reason an autopsy needs to be performed."

The Sheriff's office and the Coroner's office are jointly investigating the death.

Mr. Ables said he was going to Edgefield today to try to positively identify the body through dental records. The deputy coroner would not say whether the man was from Edgefield, only that the identification on the body led him to a dentist there.

An autopsy will be conducted today in Newberry.

Reach Katie Throne at (803) 279-6895.