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USC student's cause of death released by coroner

Samuel Laundon was last seen in the early morning hours of Saturday in the Olympia-Granby area.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina is confirming that one of their students who'd been reported as missing was found dead.

The school sent out a brief statement Monday saying that 19-year-old Samuel Laundon has died. 

“This morning we received confirmation from the Richland County Coroner’s Office of the death of one of our students over the weekend, junior Sam Laundon," a school spokesman wrote. "Our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers are with Sam’s family and friends as they grieve his loss. Counseling services are available to students, faculty and staff impacted by this tragedy.”

Richland County Coroner Gary Watts later sent out a note stating Laundon died from blunt force trauma to the head and body, which is believe to have been caused by a fall inside the quarry. 

The Richland County Sheriff's Department said Sunday evening that it had  called off the search for Laundon after they say a body fitting his description was discovered in some shrubbery in the Vulcan Materials Company quarry near the Olympia neighborhood. 

"This is not the outcome we were hoping for," said Sheriff Lott. "I'm sorry it ended this way. We are praying for him and his family." 

A missing person's report was filed just before 1 p.m. Saturday for the 19-year-old hours after it was believed he went missing.

So far, the investigation has revealed that Laundon was walking home with friends in the Olympia-Granby area when they got lost around 2:30 a.m. Saturday. Laundon jumped a fence in hopes of reaching his destination faster. When his friends called a ride-share service to take them home, Laundon declined to join them.

He was last seen in a green t-shirt, white shorts, blue jacket, and black shoes.

Sunday afternoon investigators used a helicopter to perform an aerial search of the area where Laundon was last reported seen. On Saturday, RCSD conducted a K-9 search, a search on foot and have used an aerial drone in the Olympia area between Georgia Street and Rivers Edge apartments off Huger Street.

Laundon's family said he is a sophomore majoring in international business. Sam is the youngest of three brothers. Thomas Laundon, Sam's oldest brother, says he is, "super smart, friendly and well-loved by everybody."

Credit: Thomas Laundon