Coroner speaks after skeletal remains ID’d in Spartanburg Co. as missing man


SPARTANBURG COUNTY, S.C. (WSPA) – The coroner has identified skeletal remains that were found in Spartanburg County in February 2020 as a missing man.

The coroner and the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office responded to a wooded area near the intersection of New Cut Rd. and Booker Blvd. on Feb. 14, 2020 in reference to human skeletal remains being found.

After intense forensic testing, the coroner’s office said they identified the person as Edwin Banegas-Santos, of Spartanburg. Banegas-Santos was reported as a missing person Aug. 31, 2018 and would have been 26 years old.

Banegas-Santos was able to be identified through mitochondrial DNA, with the help of coroner’s office’s cold case investigator, along with investigators of the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office, the coroner said.

The Spartanburg County Coroner, Rusty Clevenger says his family had to find out the news hundreds of miles away.

“They’re understandably in shock. They want to know as much as we’re trying to find out currently, and with them not being in country, it’s kind of hard for them to keep up with the current events and really know what’s going on,” Clevenger said.

Adding, this case took longer than normal.

“We’ve run through a litany of problems, the investigator fought through it,” Clevenger said. “People being out of work, cases got backed up. Once we made a determination we needed to extract DNA and try and pair it, that process takes some time.”

He says any information people may have, big or small, is valuable.

“All information is critical and would not be shunned by law enforcement or my office, when we make a determination of cause and manner of death,” Clevenger said.

As this is an ongoing investigation you’re asked, if you have any tips that lead up to answering those questions like why this happened, you’re asked to contact the Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office immediately.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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