South Carolina man missing for two months was killed by falling into factory shredder, coroner says

South Carolina man missing for two months was killed by falling into factory shredder, coroner says

Posted For: Marion Roberts

Johanna Chisholm

A20-year-old man who went missing two months ago likely died after falling into a recycling plant shredder at the factory he worked at in South Carolina.

In early May, Duncan Alexander Burrell-Gordon was reported missing by his family with his last known location being at his job at the Industrial Recovery & Recycling facility in Greer, South Carolina, located about 17 miles west of Spartanburg.

On Wednesday, Spartanburg County Coroner Rusty Clevenger said in a statement that small pieces of human flesh had been found around the machine where Burrell had been working. After conducting a DNA test on the dried blood, the coroner was able to confirm that it matched with the missing man’s parents, according to The State.

The coroner, who arrived at the scene of Burrell’s last location where he was known to be alive on 10 June – more than a month after he’d been reported missing – added in the statement that the plastic shredding machine in question had been inspected three times before, including once by the deceased man’s own father.

“What we have tested and was positive came from under a support under the conveyor belt just after the plastic shredding machine,” wrote Mr Clevenger, according to NBC affiliate WYFF.

Between the time that the 20-year-old is suspected to have fallen into the industrial machine, which is capable of shredding metal but is primarily used on plastic, until early June, it’s estimated that more than 60,000 pounds of plastic had been processed.

“I can confirm the material is consistent with human fat, microscopically minute particles of skin and small pieces of bone,” Mr Clevenger said in a news release, noting that he’ll be unable to issue a death certificate for the man since no body was recovered.

An investigation into the incident was initiated by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) just days after the coroner took his first sample at the beginning of June. The probe into whether there were any safety violations that occurred at the plant will likely take eight weeks, a spokesperson told The State

The Spartanburg County Sheriff’s Office has also opened an investigation into the incident and told the Herald-Journal they wouldn’t comment on the circumstances surrounding the 20-year-old’s death or whether it was being investigated as an accident or a homicide.

When reached by The Independent for comment, the sheriff’s office only confirmed that Burrell’s case was an “active investigation”.

The owner of the factory could not be reached for comment by The Independent. According to The State, records from OHSA indicate that there was one safety complaint levied against the company that involved the building’s refuse systems back in 2017 that resulted in a $500 fine.

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