The identity of a decomposing body found in woods in West Ashley remained a mystery late Wednesday, but police quelled speculation by stating who they think it is not.
The body is not that of the missing Gayle McCaffrey, Charleston police spokesman Charles Francis said.
After an autopsy on Thursday, the Charleston County Coroner’s office will likely be able to release the gender and race, and perhaps the identity, of the person whose body was found, Francis said.
But investigators at the scene concluded rather quilcly that it was not that of McCaffrey, whose residence
is about a mile from where the body was found.
A man searching for turtles in a wooded area off West Ashley Circle near Walmart came upon the badly decomposed body about 5:15 p.m., Francis said.
Authorities marked off a portion of the woods with yellow crime scene tape.
West Ashley resident Jeff Andres said he had seen homeless people in the wooded area in the past and he wondered if the body might be of a homeless person.
“I was taken aback when I saw all this,” he said, pointing to the police cars and the coroner’s wagon. “It kind of makes you a little nervous.”
McCaffrey, 36, has been missing from her home since March 17.
“If it was Ms. McCaffrey, the county would be here because it’s the county’s case,” Francis said.
McCaffrey’s husband told the Charleston County Sheriff’s Office he had last seen his wife at their house on Limestone Boulevard. The Sheriff’s Office has searched several wooded areas in West Ashley since she was reported missing.