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The body found in Bamberg County last month is a missing Beaufort County teen, according to Bob Bromage of the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office.

Malik Spencer, 18, died of gunshot wounds at the hands of an unknown killer, Bromage said.

A utility worker discovered Spencer’s decomposed body on Jan. 22 along U.S. Highway 78/Heritage Highway. Bamberg County Coroner Billy Duncan said the lineman located the body beneath some underbrush.

Both the S.C. Law Enforcement Division and the Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office Forensic Services Laboratory compared DNA samples, Bromage said. Analysts confirmed that that the human remains matched Spencer.

“Through autopsy, forensic pathologists determined the remains were that of an adult male who died as a result of gunshot wounds. Pathologists concluded that the manner of the unidentified man’s death was homicide,” Bromage said.

Spencer’s family reported on Dec. 18 that he was missing from his home in Leboco, which is about 10 miles north of Beaufort.

Someone discovered Spencer’s abandoned vehicle near a rural residential area on St. Helena Island on Dec. 21, Bromage said.

Beaufort County sheriff’s investigators attempted to locate him in the area, but were unsuccessful.

Bromage said Spencer’s DNA profile was developed and uploaded to the county’s DNA database. To help create the DNA profile, Spencer’s family submitted some of his personal items for analysis.

The Beaufort County Sheriff’s Office and SLED are leading a joint investigation into Spencer’s disappearance and death, Bromage said.

Anyone who has information about Spencer’s disappearance and death are asked to call Inv. Brian Abell at 843-255-3436 or Crimestoppers of the Lowcountry at 843-554-111. Callers may remain anonymous.

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Contact the writer: mbrown@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5545. Follow on Twitter: @MRBrownTandD

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Staff Writer

Martha Rose Brown covers crime and other topics. The South Carolina native has been a journalist for the past 16 years.

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