Richland County Coroner releases cause of death of Samuel Laundon
COLUMBIA, SC (WOLO)– Richland County Coroner Gary Watts has released the cause of death of missing University of South Carolina student, Samuel Laundon. An autopsy determined that Laundon died of blunt force trauma to the head and body.
Laundon’s body was discovered by authorities Sunday evening in the quarry at Vulcan Materials Company at the 500 block of Georgia Street.
Around 2:30 a.m. Saturday, deputies with the Richland County Sheriff’s Department said Laundon, 19, hopped a fence while walking home with friends in the Olympia-Granby area of Columbia. Deputies said Laundon did not jump back over the fence when his friends hailed a ride-share.
On Sunday night, after the Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Columbia Fire Department conducted a search for Laundon, investigators found a body under shrubbery in a quarry for the Vulcan Materials Company near Georgia Street.
According to the University of South Carolina, Laundon was in his junior year and majoring in International Business.
His father, Bill, posted on Facebook thanking those involved in the investigation, while also remembering his son as someone who “brightened our lives since birth. He always had a smile for everyone. He was a great athlete and a better scholar.”
University of South Carolina President Bob Caslen said in a statement his thoughts and prayers are with the Laundon family, and that counseling is available for anyone impacted by the tragedy.
On Twitter, the University of South Carolina’s Student Government tweeted that they are keeping the Laundon family and the entire Gamecock community in their thoughts and prayers, and reminded people to “take some extra time to send love and kindness to people around you.”
The Richland County Coroner’s Office and Richland County Sheriff’s Department is continuing to investigate.