Friday, April 20, 2012
A Wedgefield Plantation man who was last seen alive April 6 is believed to have died after getting lost in the Francis Marion National Forest in Berkeley County.
The body of 73-year-old John Hearne was found after a massive search by more than 45 people Friday night and Saturday.
Hearne was reported missing April 9. On Friday, April 13, his truck was found bogged down in the area of S.C. Highway 45 and North Honeyhill Road.
Searchers from the Berkeley County Rescue Squad, Berkeley County Sheriff’s Office, DNR, fire departments and other volunteers searched the area. Four wheelers, horses and tracking dogs were used in the search.
Hearne’s body was found at about 1:15 p.m. Saturday about a half-mile from where his truck was located.
Berkeley County Coroner Bill Salisbury said Tuesday an autopsy revealed Hearne’s death was an accident. He said the cause of death is listed as hypothermia.
Salisbury said it’s believed after Hearne bogged down, he got lost in the forest. Temperatures dipped into the 30s two of the nights he was missing and it rained during that period as well, Salisbury said.
By Scott Harper