Coroner releases new details in death of UofSC student

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COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) – Richland County Coroner Naida Rutherford has released new details in the death of Michael Keen.

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

According to the coroner, Keen’s death has been 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, according to officials.

A cause of death has not been released.

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

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

Harris Pastides, Interim President of UofSC issued his condolences to the family of Michael Keen, whose body was identified Tuesday morning.

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

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

An investigation is ongoing as to the circumstances surrounding the tragedy so for specific information related to this incident I refer you to the police investigators. We make every effort to operate this site in a safe manner. We utilize fencing, warning signs, berms and barbed wire to keep people out and warn them of the dangers. In some areas we have two rows of fencing with barbed wire. The buffer areas around the site are naturally wooded and allowed to grow thick to further discourage trespassing. This is not a place where anyone should walk into without supervision and the appropriate training.

The family of Michael Keen was on-scene with CPD and CPD’s victim services on Monday.

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

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Michael’s family, the USC family, and all affected by this tragedy,” said Coroner Naida Rutherford. “Michael was expected to graduate from the University in the next 3 weeks.”

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

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

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