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Update: Deceased homeless man's family located

Jan 21, 2011 12:47:00 PM - thestate.com
Updated Jan. 21, 12:45 p.m. – A call for public help in locating the family of a man found dead in a downtown Columbia park Saturday has been answered.

Bryan Gilbert Williamson, 50, suffered a stroke sometime during that night, Richland County Coroner Gary Watts said. A collie/retriever mix dog was with him. The pet, named Scooter, was a service dog trained in New Mexico, Watts said.

Someone saw Williamson's story and recognized the name, and knew he had a sister in Dillon, Watts said Friday. The sister has been notified and is working on making burial arrangements, he said.

Scooter is in custody of the county animal shelter, but several families have come forward offering a home.

While Williamson's family was located, cases of deaths of unidentified people are a growing issue in the county. Last year, more than 70 people were cremated and then buried in the public cemetery, Watts said. In Watts’ first year as coroner in 2001, his office buried the remains of 14 people. Now, the coroner’s office has a full-time investigator to search for family members of unclaimed dead people, he said.

USA, South Carolina: (Latest Stories)