Originally created 12/15/01

Officials question hanging in Aiken



AIKEN - The Aiken County Coroner's Office is investigating the death of a man who, authorities say, had hanged for five weeks in a shed behind the home where he had lived with a brother.

Jimmie Scott, 71, was discovered at his home on Charleston Highway sometime Thursday by a family member and officially pronounced dead about 4:30 p.m. that day, authorities said.

Officials found Mr. Scott's decomposing body infested with insects in a woodshed behind his mobile home. A rope was tied around his neck, and his fully clothed body was hanging from a rafter in the shed, Aiken County Coroner Sue Townsend said Friday.

His baseball cap was sitting on a table behind him.

Mr. Scott's brother who lives elsewhere in Aiken County went to the trailer after a mail carrier asked, "When is the last time you saw your brother Jimmie? His mail is piling up," Mrs. Townsend said.

On finding Mr. Scott's body, officials learned another of Mr. Scott's brothers, a 69-year-old mentally handicapped man, had been living in the mobile home all the while.

Mrs. Townsend said the handicapped brother had a caseworker with the Department of Social Services. She did not know how often the caseworker contacted the handicapped man, or if a caseworker had visited him in the past five weeks.

The handicapped brother is staying with family, and DSS has been contacted, Mrs. Townsend said.

Family members told the coroner's office Mr. Scott led a reclusive life and did not communicate with his family often. Mrs. Townsend said her office had subpoenaed Mr. Scott's medical records and will continue to investigate Monday.

Mr. Scott did not appear to have a history of mental illness, the coroner said.

"We think there is reason to believe (Mr. Scott) would commit suicide," Mrs. Townsend said. "However right now it's an open file."

Reach Josh Gelinas at (803) 279-6895 or josh.gelinas@augustachronicle.com.