No body parts found in seemingly bloody box marked ‘human remains’

A blood-soaked box labeled ‘Human Remains’ was discovered near Palmetto Pointe Boulevard and Cape Landing Circle Thursday morning.
A blood-soaked box labeled ‘Human Remains’ was discovered near Palmetto Pointe Boulevard and Cape Landing Circle Thursday morning. Photo courtesy of the Horry County Police Department

Weeks shy of April Fool’s Day, a seemingly bloody box marked “human remains” was found in Horry County Thursday morning but contained only a tomato and onion.

Police say it’s likely a hoax and likely will not investigate further.

Multiple bright labels with the words “medical shipment” and “handle with extreme care” were stamped all over the box and red smears that looked like blood were also on the cardboard container found about 8 a.m. Thursday in the area of Palmetto Pointe Boulevard and Cape Landing Circle in Horry County. The red fluid on the outside of the box was not blood.

Horry County police say someone alerted them after they found the box along Palmetto Pointe Boulevard. EMS claimed the box until Horry County Coroner Robert Edge came to the scene and collected it. Now authorities believe the incident could be a prank, according to Lt. Raul Denis with Horry County Police.

“I don’t think we’re going to spend the time and resources to investigate something so silly where all we’re looking at is maybe a littering charge,” Denis said.

On Thursday afternoon, Denis said police will look at the coroner’s report when it becomes available and determine their next step.

The box appeared to be a human waste decontamination box and could have held some type of human medical waste, Edge said before he discovered two vegetables inside.

He said such medical waste is often collected from funeral homes, doctor’s offices and hospitals then incinerated according to proper disposal guidelines. Edge said he wasn’t sure what a truck containing human waste material would be doing along Palmetto Pointe Boulevard, which is lined mainly with neighborhoods and a few offices.

“It’s just kind of a mystery what it was doing on that road because there are no businesses down there. No doctor’s offices or anything like that,” Edge said.

He opened the box about 10:30 a.m. Thursday and examined its contents with Forensic Pathologist Edward Proctor Jr. Proctor also tested the fluid that looked like blood on the box’s outside and determined it wasn’t. Edge said they hadn’t determined what exactly the fluid was, but said it looked like it may be water mixed with red food coloring.

Edge said he wasn’t sure if someone who worked in a medical office simply put trash inside the sealed box and lost it along their route to throw it away, or if the entire situation was a hoax.

Elizabeth Townsend: 843-626-0217, @TSN_etownsend