GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – Despite being the second-youngest person on staff at the Greenville County Coroner’s Office, Mallory Cameron has earned the respect of everyone on the team.
“Mallory has been a godsend to our office, realistically,” Chief Deputy Coroner Mike Ellis said. “We have shared Mallory’s knowledge and experience with many other coroners’ offices in the state.”
The knowledge and skills which set Cameron apart from other deputy coroners is her education in forensic anthropology.
After four years studying human remains and their various stages of decomposition at the University of Tennessee, Cameron can easily identify whether bones are human and the age and sex of the person from which they came.
“If we have law enforcement find a human bone – or a bone, period – used to, we would respond out there, collect evidence, bring the evidence back into a forensic pathologist and let the forensic pathologist make the determination of whether it was human,” Ellis said. “Now, we can respond Mallory.”
Cameron first put her knowledge to the test for the Greenville County Coroner’s Office when she was called to assist the Laurens County Sheriff’s Office in a case involving suspected human skeletal remains. After arriving on scene, Cameron picked up the mandible – the lower jawbone that had prompted the investigation – and determined within seconds it was fake.
She took the plastic mandible as a souvenir and now keeps it on her desk.
Cameron investigates all deaths as a deputy coroner but is especially interested in cases involving skeletal remains.
In February, her skills were tested when a human skill was discovered in the woods along Oscar Street in Greenville.
“He showed me a picture of a human skull,” Cameron said. “He said, ‘Do you want to go?’ And I was like, ‘Of course I want to go.’”
After a lengthy search of the woods, investigators found the remainder of the skeleton.
“It was around 1 or 2 o’clock and the deputy coroner that had gotten the original call, he calls me and I thought he was going to have a heart attack,” Cameron said. “He goes: ‘Mallory, I swear I’m looking at bones,’ and I said, ‘Where are you?’”
Cameron confirmed the bones were human, sorted the remains and helped the coroner’s office make a tentative ID.
The case is still under investigation as Cameron works to track down the decedent’s family and notify them.