Authorities have identified the bones recovered off of Alabama’s coast as those of a Summerville man who went missing while swimming last year.

Eric Lonnie Pye, 31, went swimming on June 24, 2012 at Orange Beach at Gulf Shores, Alabama. The backlash of a large wave dragged Pye into the Gulf of Mexico. Tropical Storm Debby was churning off the coast at the time.

Rescue workers including the U.S. Coast Guard spent five days searching for Pye. Rescuers used boats and sonar but were unable to find him.

About three months later, two human bones were found on the beach near the state pier, according to officials with Gulf Shores Police Department. One bone was found on Sept. 1 and the other on Sept. 19, both found just a few miles from where Pye disappeared.

Forensics tests compared DNA on the bones to Pye’s mother’s DNA, Sgt. Jason Woodruff said. “We would especially like to thank the Alabama Department of Forensic Sciences Mobile laboratory for their quick response. Their timely results have allowed the Pye family to have answers that so many never get,” Gulf Shores Police Chief Ed Delmore stated in a press release.

At the time of the drowning, Pye had been living in Mississippi with his wife, Woodruff said. His mother lives in South Carolina.

Read more in tomorrow’s edition of the Post and Courier.

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