Human remains found near St. Stephen

A person collecting recyclable cans and bottles found human remains this morning in a densely wooded and remote area near St. Stephen.

Dan Moon, a spokesman for the Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, said the bones were discovered on Army Corps of Engineers property about 400 yards off the end of Platt Road. The roadway is parallel to the Rediversion Canal, which runs from Lake Moultrie to the Santee River.

County Coroner Bill Salisbury had joined forensics experts at the scene. Moon would not comment on whether any personal belongings were found with the bones.

“They’re mapping things out and collecting all the remains,” he said. “We don’t know who it is, and we probably won’t know for quite some time.”

Moon said it would be “pure speculation” to say the remains were related to the case of 46-year-old Joe Samuel Swinton of St. Stephen, whose pickup was found abandoned in the area two years ago.

An incident report said Swinton “appeared to be very intoxicated” after giving a friend a ride to a Bo Cat Alley address on Jan. 17, 2010.

His red Chevrolet Silverado was found days later in the Platt Road area, which is north of his Shaw Street home, but deputies’ search of the area proved fruitless.

Investigators did not suspect foul play in the case but wouldn’t rule it out. Moon wouldn’t comment any further on the case Wednesday.