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Death of University of South Carolina student investigated as accident

Michael Keen was found dead at a rock quarry a day after he was reported missing.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Richland County coroner's office says the death of University of South Carolina student Michael Keen is being investigated as an accident. 

Keen's body was found at a rock quarry in Columbia Monday. He was a senior majoring in finance at the school.

Keen, 22, was reported missing by his family on Sunday. They told Columbia Police that their son had called his father to say he was walking home from J's Corner Restaurant and Bar on Rosewood Drive. That's in an area not far from the South Carolina State Fairgrounds. 

On Monday, Columbia Police Deputy Chief Melron Kelly said a SLED helicopter flew over the quarry at Vulcan Materials off Georgia Street at the request of CPD. Keen's body was discovered while flying about 200 feet above the ground.  

The area where Keen was found is about one mile from J's Corner Restaurant and Bar. 

After Rutherford confirmed Tuesday that it was Keen who was found at the quarry, University of South Carolina President Harris Pastides issued a statement offering condolences to the family of friends of Keen and a graduate student at the school who passed away within the last week. 

Pastides said grief counselors would be made available to anyone on campus who needed one. 

Two people were found dead at this same rock quarry last year. Last year, a man died in a workplace related accident at the site. And in October of 2020, a University of South Carolina student was found dead after police say he hopped a fence at that location and fell, suffering an injury that killed him.