Missing man found dead in van

Leroy Wade

ADAMS RUN — An elderly man found dead inside a van that had gone into the water near the Willtown Road boat landing was the same person who had been missing since Friday, the Charleston County Coroner's Office confirmed.

Leroy Wade, 81, of Johns Island drowned between Friday and Monday, Charleston County Deputy Coroner Kelly Myers said. When found, he was slumped over in the driver's seat.

A deputy on routine patrol spotted Wade's blue Dodge Caravan partially submerged in the Edisto River around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday.

Though they had not confirmed what caused Wade to drive into the water, Charleston County sheriff's investigators discovered that the van was in drive with the ignition on, sheriff's Maj. John Clark said. The area is dark at nighttime with no obvious signs to indicate that the road ends.

Wade, who was in the early stage of dementia, had not been seen since leaving the Ralph H. Johnson Veterans Affairs Medical Center in downtown Charleston around 7 p.m. Friday, according to Charleston police, who investigated the original missing persons report.