A look at how forensic experts gather info to make a positive ID

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - The autopsy of a man found dead on a river bank is now complete. But the coroner's office is not releasing the information Until he has been identified.

Authorities say a man washed up on Kiawah Island last week, but at this point very few clues have emerged as to who he is and they're asking for your help.

Charleston County Coroner Rae Wooten says if it's a body with no identification and no matches with missing persons reports they would next take finger prints and compare them to stored databases.

"That would be our local fingerprint database as well as SLED. We can also run them through an FBI database and beyond that through ice," Wooten said.

If no leads turn up,the coroner goes to the media for the public's help. A specially trained sketch artist will recreate what the unknown person looked like before after death changes took place.

"Certain things aren't going to change. Whether you have low set eyes, wide set eyes, whether your hair line grows low or receded. Whether the ears are large, small. The nose...is it prominent. But we can't account totally for the changes that may have happened," Wooten said.

If the coroner's office has enough information on a possible victim, they move forward with contacting that person's family to find out more information.

"Who's his dentist? Has he ever had any surgeries, broken bones? A certain birthmark, scars, tattoos? Those people are going to be the ones who know those pieces of information. We can use some of those kinds of information to make positive identification, some are probable, some are positive," Wooten said.

Following the identification of a body, it is then the coroner's job to notify family members and make a final determination of a person's manner of death.