Remains identified as missing teen

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Human remains recovered on Jan. 22 in Bamberg County have been identified as 18-year-old Malik Spencer, the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday. 

Spencer was reported missing by family members after he was last seen leaving his home in Lobeco on Dec. 18. On December 21, Spencer’s vehicle was found abandoned near a rural residential area on St. Helena Island. Following the discovery of his vehicle, the Sheriff’s Office conducted an extensive search of that area, but did not find Spencer. 

The vehicle was processed for forensic evidence and items were submitted to the Sheriff’s Office Forensic Services Laboratory for analysis. Also submitted for DNA analysis were personal items of Spencer’s obtained through his family. His DNA profile was developed and uploaded to the DNA database.

On Jan. 22, linemen discovered human remains in the brush off of Highway 78 in Bamberg County. Bamberg County Sheriff’s deputies and personnel from the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division (SLED) processed the scene for forensic evidence and the unidentified remains were sent to Newberry for autopsy. Through autopsy, forensic pathologists determined that the remains were that of an adult male who had died as a result of gunshot wounds. Pathologists concluded that the manner of the unidentified man’s death was homicide.

Items recovered during the man’s autopsy were subjected to DNA analysis at the SLED forensic laboratory. When the man’s DNA profile was entered into the DNA database, it matched Specner’s DNA profile. Following the match reported by SLED, confirmatory DNA analysis was performed at the Sheriff’s Office Forensic Services Laboratory. After review, Sheriff’s Office DNA analysts confirmed the results.

As this may involve multiple jurisdictions in South Carolina, there is now a joint investigation into Spencer’s disappearance and death being conducted by the Sheriff’s Office and SLED. Law enforcement is asking for information from the public to help identify those responsible. Anyone with information is urged to call investigator Brian Abell at 843-255-3436 or Crimestoppers of the Lowcountry at 843-554-1111 if wishing to remain anonymous and for possible reward. 

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