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Coroner releases new details on death of UofSC student


COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) – Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford has released new details about Michael Keen’s death.

Keen was reported missing on Monday and his body was found near the Vulcan Materials quarry later today.

According to the coroner, Keen’s death was ruled accidental and there is no indication that his death was a suicide.

Keen’s body was found less than a mile from where he was reported missing, officials said.

The cause of death has not been released.

The Columbia Police Department reported that an unidentified body was found while searching for a missing UofSC student in a quarry near Rosewood Drive, not far from the Olympia-Granby area in the rock quarry from Vulcan Materials.

The officers said they did a canvas on Sunday but they did a deeper canvas on Monday afternoon; that’s when authorities found Keen’s body.

Harris Pastides, interim president of the UofSC, offered his condolences to the family of Michael Keen, whose body was identified Tuesday morning.

“It is always painful to lose a member of our Caroline family, and we know that some of you may wish to seek help during this difficult time,” said Pastides.

Vulcan Materials released a statement which, in part, said:

An investigation is underway as to the circumstances surrounding the tragedy, so for specific information related to this incident, I refer you to police investigators. We make every effort to operate this site in a safe manner. We use fences, warning signs, berms and barbed wire to keep people out and warn them of dangers. In some areas we have two rows of fences with barbed wire. Buffer zones around the site are naturally forested and may become thick to further discourage trespassing. It is not a place that anyone should enter without supervision and without proper training.

Michael Keen’s family were on site with CPD and CPD Victim Services on Monday.

Keen’s dad last heard from him on Sunday after walking home from J’s Corner Restaurant and Bar.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael’s family, the USC family and all affected by this tragedy,” said Coroner Naida Rutherford. “Michael was due to graduate from college within the next 3 weeks.”

Last year, the body of missing UofSC student Sam Laundon was found in the quarry.

UofSC officials are encouraging anyone affected by Keen’s death to seek help from mental health services.

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