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Autopsy results inconclusive in death of USF student, investigation ongoing

USF student Sheridan Wahl was found dead Sept. 21 in Pamplico, South Carolina, two days after she went missing while traveling to Myrtle Beach. SPECIAL TO THE ORACLE

The cause of death of Sheridan Wahl, a USF student from the Tampa campus who went missing Sept. 19, still remains a mystery after an autopsy revealed “inconclusive results.” 

Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken said in an email Monday the cause of death is still pending additional postmortem studies and investigation, according to WBTW-TV in Florence, South Carolina. Wahl’s body was found Sept. 21 behind the Hannah-Salem-Friendfield Fire Department in the town of Pamplico, South Carolina, 10 miles from her car, according to the Associated Press (AP)

To cover funeral and memorial-related costs, Wahl’s friend and former roommate Elizabeth Echenique launched a GoFundMe Sept. 21 and, as of Tuesday, had raised more than $6,500 of the $20,000 goal.

Wahl, 21, was going to visit her father in Myrtle Beach on Sept. 19, but she never arrived, according to the Myrtle Beach Police Department missing persons report. Wahl’s mother, Kelly DeArment Wahl, had been on FaceTime with her daughter while she was trying to rent a scooter in Myrtle Beach around 1 p.m. that day. 

She was denied the service because she wasn’t wearing shoes, so Wahl told her mother she wanted to return to Florida, according to the report. Her mother advised her to return the next day to avoid the long drive. Kelly posted on her Facebook profile later in the day that Wahl wasn’t picking up her phone and she hadn’t heard from her since 1 p.m.

The day she was reported missing, authorities in Florence County found a car about 55 miles from the business where Wahl had spoken with her mother, AP reported. The license plate had been removed, the identification number was illegible and the car had been set on fire. 

The Myrtle Beach Police Department wrote on Facebook the missing persons investigation that opened Sept. 19 was transferred to the South Carolina State Law Enforcement Division (SLED). The Oracle requested more information from SLED and the Myrtle Beach Police Department, but they did not respond by the time of publication.

Wahl’s father, Jeff Wahl, also asked for donations in the name of his daughter to raise money for the Mental Health Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness on mental health issues. As of Tuesday night, $3,236 were raised in support of his cause.

“In sweet, loving memory of our daughter Sheridan,” Jeff wrote Sept. 22 on Facebook. “Heartfelt thanks for all of your thoughts and prayers. Give your kids a hug, then hug them harder for five more seconds… for Sheridan.”

This is a developing story. Stay with The Oracle for more updates.