Body found near highway in Newberry County

By Jody Barr - email

WHITMIRE, SC (WIS) - Newberry County sheriff's investigators continue working to figure out how a person's body ended up in a ditch along the Palmetto Trail.

Newberry County Sheriff Lee Foster said his investigators are calling the death "suspicious."

"It's nothing that leads up right now to believe that it's suspicious, but we're going ahead and working it as that because we don't want to have the post-mortem done and come up and find out there actually is some cause that led to it," said Foster.

Dispatchers received a 911 call from a utility crew around 11:15 a.m. Monday after the crew found the body in a ditch along David Branch Road. The crime scene is less than two miles off Interstate 26 just off Jalapa Road.

"We received a call from a power company work crew that had been out here cleaning up from a storm we had here last night and the supervisor found the body as he was passing through this road," said Foster.

The body appears to have been in the ditch for "quite a few days" and was in the beginning stages of decomposition, according to Foster. Deputies haven't ruled out the possibility of the body being that of a hiker, but Foster said the clothing on the body doesn't appear to confirm the theory. Foster says the person was wearing white tennis shoes, black and white basketball shorts and a dark colored t-shirt.

Investigators now know that the person was a man, but have still not determined race. Foster said investigators were not able to find any identification on the body at the scene. Foster also says that the man had a large number of tattoos on his arms, legs and upper body. Newberry pathologists will perform an autopsy to determine a cause of death, a possibly identify the remains.

Newberry County deputies are working with SLED and surrounding law enforcement agencies looking through missing persons reports while the investigation continues.

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