NEWS

Coroner confirms that body of missing USC teen found

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts released the name of the individual who was located Sunday in Columbia.

Samuel Laundon, 19, of Cary, North Carolina, was pronounced dead at the scene. His body was found inside the Vulcan Quarry unresponsive. An autopsy revealed that Laundon died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head and body.

The Richland County Sheriff’s Department and the Columbia Fire Department participated in the search for Laundon. He was reported as a missing person in the area of the 500 block of Georgia Street, in Columbia.

The Richland County Coroner’s Office and the Richland County Sheriff’s Department continue to investigate this incident.

Laundon was last seen around 2:30 a.m. Saturday while walking with friends in the Olympia-Granby area. Witnesses told investigators he jumped a fence with the hope of reaching their destination faster, and declined to come back over the fence and share a ride home with them. Friends notified the sheriff’s department around 1 Saturday afternoon that he was missing.

A plane, helicopter, and K-9s took part in an extensive search of the area, as did firefighters, who focused on areas of the quarry that were hard to reach and hard to see from the air because of bushes and shrubbery.