Aquatic Investigations and Recovery

The Aquatic Investigation and Recovery team of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources is a 12-member team that is responsible for the recoveries of as well as provides investigative assistance for many water related fatalities in the state of South Carolina. Three specific incidents are discussed here. The first being the 1994 Susan Smith case, when a mother murdered her two children by allowing her vehicle to roll into Lake John D. Long in Union County, S.C. The second occurred in 1996, also in Lake John D. Long, when seven people—four of which were children under the age of 7—drowned when their vehicle rolled into the lake. The third incident occurred in 1999 and involved a 16-year-old female from Pennsylvania who slipped into a class IV rapid on the Chatooga river in Oconee County, S.C. Due to adverse water conditions, her body was not recovered for almost two months. Recovering bodies can take a toll on those who provide this service. Professional support as well as self de-briefing can be a valuable asset.

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