The body of a woman may have been left inside a donation bin for months, according to South Carolina police.
Kershaw County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) officials said the body was located in the bin off Highway 1, in Lugoff, after a passer-by smelled a bad odor on Saturday, December 31.
Investigators initially believed the body might have been someone who had sought shelter during the recent cold weather.
It was later found that the body had been in the bin for much longer, with police investigating whether it could have been there for months, according to the Associated Press.
According to the National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, 600,000 people go missing in the U.S. every year. It also estimated that 4,400 unidentified bodies are recovered each year across the country.
A January 2 KCSO Facebook post added: “SC State Law Enforcement Division (SLED) crime scene investigators were called to process the bin and properly recover the body.
“The body appears to have been in the bin for months. We believe it is an adult female based on the clothing located on the body.”
Kershaw County coroner David West has scheduled an autopsy for Wednesday, January 4, according to the Facebook release.
Police said the victim’s identity, location of the death as well as the date and cause of the death were not known at this time.
Sheriff Lee Boan said: “I can assure you that your KCSO and coroner’s office investigators are thoroughly working this suspicious death.
“We will know more facts as the investigation moves forward. It is very early in the investigation. We are not ruling out anything at this time.”
Newsweek has contacted the KSCO for comment.
In December, a new homeowner found the body of a former tenant in an Ohio basement, according to police. Cleveland Heights Police Department officers said there were no visible signs of trauma on the body.
A police investigation later determined that the human remains were that of a 71-year-old woman.
County property records seen by ABC5 showed that the woman had previously lived inside the home.
In Texas last month, human remains were found inside a burnt car left at a construction site. Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deputies were alerted to a vehicle on fire at 108000 Sleepy Hollow Road at a new construction site on December 10.
A statement posted to Facebook, MCSO said: “Upon further investigation, deputies discovered human remains inside the vehicle. Immediate identification is not available at this time.
“Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office Homicide and Violent Crimes Detectives, Crime Scene Investigators, and Montgomery County Fire Marshal Investigators responded to the scene and are currently conducting an investigation.
“This is an active investigation and no further information is available for release at this time.”