Orangeburg, SC (Paul Kirby) – Orangeburg County Coroner Samuetta Marshall released the official cause of death of E.D. “Little Marcus” Dwyer Tuesday. Her report classified his death as accidental. She did have an autopsy performed and it showed he drowned. The accidental classification coincides with the findings of the Orangeburg County Sheriff’s Department. Monday, they released a statement saying that they had no reason to suspect foul play in Dwyer’s death.
Dwyer was popular and an outstanding athlete at Pelion High School. Last Saturday, he had attended the prom and was looking forward to graduating soon and moving into another phase of his life. The school’s students were crushed Sunday evening when news of his accident spread through the community and student body via social media. After dark Sunday, the statue of the Pelion Panther at one of the entrances to the school was ringed with candles as teens gathered to grieve and remember their friend.
Dwyer’s family, and some of his friends, openly questioned Monday and Tuesday why a young man who either couldn’t swim, or was a poor swimmer, would jump from a bridge on Hwy 321 South into the waters of the river below. The report of the first sheriff’s deputy to arrive on the scene reflects that several boys were already in the water calling for Dwyer to join them. Tragically, no one will ever know what he was thinking when he finally jumped; however, after interviewing all the witnesses separately, their stories support the coroner’s finding that this death was an accident. The Orangeburg County’s Sheriff’s Department also had an investigator respond to assist the deputy Sunday. That detective found no evidence that indicated anyone pushed or made Dwyer leave the safety of the bridge and enter the water.
Pelion High School, the school where Dwyer played sports and was set to graduate this month, held a Fellowship of Christian Athletes meeting for students and staff only Tuesday morning. It was well attended. A student who asked not to be identified said that she attended and many students were openly grieving. “People were just hurt and sometimes we want someone to be mad at when something like his happens. It got around school fast, even Sunday night, that Little Marcus couldn’t swim. No one could figure out why he would jump into the water because of that. I guess we all do things when we’re hanging out with friends we wouldn’t do if we were with our parents,” she said. She also said that the school district, teachers, and counseling staff helped a lot over the past two days. “To me, just seeing some of the teacher crying was like it made it okay for us to be crying too.”
A GoFundMe account has been established to assist Dwyer’s family with his burial expenses. That account can be found by clicking HERE.