Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Coroner finds Elijah Weatherspoon died from drowning, DNR still investigating

Weatherspoon was found dead June 28

Posted by Heath Ellison on Tue, Jul 7, 2020 at 7:08 AM

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Findings of an autopsy on 18-year-old Elijah Weatherspoon, who was found dead near Sullivan's Island after going missing, were released Monday. The Charleston County Coroner's Office said the initial findings indicate Weatherspoon died from asphyxiation due to drowning.
Weatherspoon, of North Charleston, went missing June 25. His body was found on Sullivan's Island on June 28. Local online petitions have since called for a thorough investigation into his death.

A spokesman for the state Department of Natural Resources, which is investigating, told the City Paper last week that the agency believed Weatherspoon jumped into Cooper River to swim while boating with eight other people. DNR spokesman Robert McCullough said at some point the teen "got in trouble" and drowned. One friend attempted to save him, but could not.

Weatherspoon's family attorney, Javaron Buckley, believed the case may not be as simple as that. "For him to have drowned is pretty far fetched," he said. Buckley told the City Paper last week he suspects "foul play," and wants an independent investigation. Buckley did not respond to a request for comment Monday evening.

Through an attorney, Weatherspoon's father said last week that Elijah was the only person of color on the boat, but the DNR spokesman could not initially confirm that detail.

DNR said it had not received the full coroner's report as of Monday evening, but will use it as the investigation continues.

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