Originally created 11/19/02

Body found in burning car's trunk



Authorities in two states were investigating the discovery Monday of a human body found in the trunk of a burning car that was registered to an Evans man, police said.

A deer hunter walking along Deep Step Road in Sumter National Forest reported the burning car at about 4:30 p.m., according to Lt. Joel Summer, of the Edgefield County (S.C.) Sheriff's Office.

The Merriwether Fire Department extinguished the fire and found the badly burned body in the trunk, Lt. Summer said. Authorities could not tell whether the body was that of a man or a woman and were investigating the incident as a homicide, he said.

Edgefield County Coroner Thurmond Burnett said the body likely would be sent to Newberry County Memorial Hospital this morning for an autopsy.

Police traced the burned car's license plate to an address on Oakton Trail in Evans, Columbia County sheriff's Capt. Steve Morris said.

Capt. Morris said investigators were attempting to locate the owner, who was not at home Monday night.

Forensic and arson investigators from the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division and the Aiken Bloodhound Team were called to the scene, about a mile from the McCormick County line.

Investigators searched the car with flashlights in the heavily wooded area. The car was found about 70 yards off Deep Step Road on an old logging road, said Scott Cairnes, an officer for the USDA Forest Service.

The logging road is about three miles from the Furys Ferry Boat Landing. The area is used frequently by hunters, Officer Cairnes said.

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