A person collecting recyclable cans stumbled across human remains Wednesday morning in a remote area near St. Stephen that normally is under 7 feet of water.
The scene, off the eastern end of Platt Road, is about 300 yards from where a missing man's pickup truck was found abandoned two years ago. At the time, the Army Corps of Engineers property had been flooded, and deputies' search for the man was fruitless.
The roadway is parallel to the Rediversion Canal, which runs from Lake Moultrie to the Santee River. With abnormally dry weather, no flood gates in the area have been opened, making the swampland walkable for detectives and forensic anthropologists.
Experts found clothing and personal belongings, though they wouldn't discuss the details. Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury said the bones did not make up a full skeleton.
"It's been so dry that even the swamp is dry," Salisbury said. "These remains have been there for some time."
Investigators will try to match DNA from the bones to samples from the area's missing people. Salisbury said it would be at least two days before the remains could be identified.
Dan Moon, a spokesman for the Berkeley County Sheriff's Office, said it would be "pure speculation" to say the bones were related to the missing-person case of Joe Samuel Swinton, 46, of St. Stephen.
An incident report said Swinton "appeared to be very intoxicated" after giving a friend a ride to a Bo Cat Alley home on Jan. 17, 2010.
His truck was found days later near the turnaround area on the end of Platt Road, which is north of Swinton's home on Shaw Street.
Investigators did not suspect foul play in Swinton's disappearance, but wouldn't rule it out. Moon wouldn't comment further on the case Wednesday.