BEAUFORT CO., Ga. (WTOC) - The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office is once again asking the public to come forward with information in the death of a 16-year-old.
The Sheriff’s Office says deputies and Beaufort County EMS responded to the Grays Hill Boat Landing around 8:50 a.m. on Nov. 1 regarding an unresponsive male in the marsh. Upon arrival, EMS confirmed that the male was deceased.
The Beaufort County Coroner’s Office identified the deceased male as 16-year-old Marcus Graves of Beaufort. A runaway report for Graves was filed Thursday night.
A forensic autopsy was performed Sunday and no clear cause and manner of death was determined. Forensic pathologists will perform additional studies in hopes of finding the cause. The Sheriff’s Office is considering Graves’ death suspicious.
“Forensic autopsy was performed at the medical university of South Carolina where they did not establish a clear cause of death,” said Bob Bromage, Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office. "That being said there’s going to be an additional study performed by a forensic pathologist to hopefully determine that issue. "
“The death is considered suspicious, and investigators are looking for information from the public on who might have been with Marcus Graves when he left his home that night. So anyone with that information is urged to come forward, if they want to be anonymous they can call CrimeStoppers of the Lowcountry,” said Bromage. “This particular incident does not appear to increase the threat to the public.”
“A human," said the men who were there when Graves’ body was found, Randy Higgins and Tyler Moore. "We thought it might have been a Halloween prank.”
Fishermen were getting ready to go out on the water when they made the grisly discovery
“We was getting in the boat and the guy yelled hey there’s a body. So we all walked over and there was a kid laying in the marsh,” they said.
The man who found Graves’ body says he was walking along this dark looking for snakes in the water when he saw what he thought was a dummy in the marsh. When he got closer, he realized it was a body.
The 16-year-old was a Beaufort native, and a junior at Battery Creek High School, just a few miles away.
“When someone so young passes away so unexpectedly it’s always traumatic and very difficult for teenagers to deal with,” said Jim Foster, Beaufort County District Communications.
A letter sent to families at the school describes Graves as a free spirit, with a passion for music. Foster says crisis counselors were immediately sent to the school to help students grieve Graves’ passing.
“Crisis intervention teams, it’s a special group of counselors, was deployed to the school this morning. They will be there for the rest of today and all of next week to assist any students or staff who have emotional problems dealing with the passing of Marcus,” said Foster.
The 16-year-old’s Facebook page has been converted into a remembrance page. Still showing his last posts from the night before the discovery of his body.
Anyone with information is encouraged to call Sergeant Ryan Garst at 843-255-3426 or Crimestoppers at 843-554-1111, if wishing to remain anonymous and for possible reward.