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Human skeletal remains found along river

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Plenty of attention was already focused on Horry County, S. C., prior to Saturday's findings of human skeletal remains, what with local authorities and various agencies engaged in trying to find two missing local women. And although the skeletal remains found in the Tidewater Road area near Waccamaw Boulevard were human, they had been in the area for a number of years, thus ruling out any connection with Heather Elvis, who was reported missing on Dec. 19, and Jamie Lynn Cross, reported missing Christmas Day. That being said, the aged state of the bones offer possible closure to one of a number of cold missing persons cases, like that of Brittanee Drexel, who vanished from Myrtle Beach during Spring Break 2009.

WMBF in Myrtle Beach reported Dec. 29 that Horry County police confirmed that the scattered bones of a skeleton had been recovered Saturday. County coroner Robert Edge also confirmed that the skeletal remains were human.

Edge said the larger bones would be packaged and sent to Texas for DNA testing and evaluation.

The bones, he said, had been in the Waccamaw area for years.

Horry County Police Lt. Robert Kegler said officers collected the remains after a person as yet unidentified came across them while walking and then called the police. The bones were scattered over about a 100 yards of territory, the placement believed to be the result of animals moving them around over the years.

As to whether or not the remains belong to a male or female or an older or younger person also remains to be seen.

Edge told WMBF that he didn't know if any families of the missing had been contacted by police. If clothing had been found with the bones, authorities would have reached out to the families of missing persons in hopes of identifying the remains. His hope, he said, was to get a quick identification in order to bring closure.

As for the identity of the remains, the name of Brittanee Drexel quickly comes to mind. The 17-year-old high school student went missing in Myrtle Beach over four years ago. Her story went nationwide, even landing on "America's Most Wanted." But the teen hasn't been seen since she began a walk between two hotels in April 2009, a walk that she never completed.

Drexel's mother, Dawn, issued a statement shortly after the skeletal remains were found and revealed to the public. She acknowledged that there were many families with missing children and adult members awaiting news subsequent to the latest find. She asked that everyone respect "the process" of the investigation and urged the "media to re visit the case files and feature our missing."

The skeletal remains recovered Saturday were found approximately six miles from where Brittanee Drexel was last seen.

(Correction: It was previously reported, erroneously, that the remains were "found in Waccamaw near the river of the same name." Although the river is relatively near the area were the bones were found, the area being described was the Tidewater Road area, which is off Waccamaw Boulevard, or Highway 501, one of the main conduits into Myrtle Beach.)

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