Coroner: Man pulled from truck at Folly Beach Boat Landing reported missing from Nebraska

Man's body recovered from truck at Folly Beach boat landing
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC
Source: WCSC

FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Charleston County authorities identified the man whose body was recovered from a vehicle pulled from the water at the Folly Beach Boat Landing Thursday.

The victim was identified as 26-year-old William Smith, Jr., from Omaha, Nebraska, according to Charleston County Deputy Coroner Sara Senn. The cause and manner of death are pending, she said.

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Smith was reported missing by his family in Omaha on Dec. 8. Family members told police they had not heard from him and he had not reported to his job.

Smith's cell phone was located on a dock in Folly Beach in early December, according to a release from Omaha police. Investigators analyzed the phone but were unable to locate information about Smith's whereabouts.

On the day of the truck's discovery, a detective in Omaha assigned to the case received information for witnesses in Folly Beach that oil was seen in the water near the dock where the phone had been discovered. The detective then contacted police on Folly Beach for assistance.

Authorities estimated the body was in the truck, under water for about a month. Bank account records and phone data led them to this conclusion.

Detectives in Omaha say the truck had recently been purchased by Smith.

"Based on that information and using sonar, the vehicle was located in the water near the boat landing and later dive teams from Charleston City and Charleston County confirmed the presence of one body," Folly Beach authorities said."The car and body were recovered."

According to authorities, the Charleston County Coroner's office arrived Thursday to assist in the investigation. The boat landing was closed for the evening as authorities pulled the vehicle from the water, removed the body and processed the scene.

Charleston deputies, police and fire personnel held up blue tarps in front of the vehicle as it was pulled from the water shortly before 6 p.m.

"There was some other evidence and photographs that we gleaned and determined that we should look somewhere near water," Folly Beach Public Safety Chief Andrew Gilreath. "We took that information, again we had some information that people had noticed oil slicks in the water."

"At this time we're not aware of friends or family [of the victim] in this area so at this time we're not 100 percent sure of how it ended up on Folly Beach, it's something that will be found out during the investigation," Gilreath said.

Earlier in the afternoon, Folly Beach police said the recovery had been in connection to a possible missing person.

A joint effort of more than 50 officials that led to the recovery. Officials with the Charleston County Sheriff's Office, Charleston Police and the Folly Beach Fire Department assisted with the operation. Dive teams from Charleston police, the Charleston County Sheriff's Office and the county's rescue squad also assisted.

Folly Beach Police continue to investigate the case, Senn said.

Omaha police said their investigation was still in "the very early stages" and their detectives would work with Folly Beach and Charleston County authorities.

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