People kayak and paddle board around Hog Inlet near Waties Island on July 18. Coastal Educational Foundation owns more than 1,000 acres of the island extending to the Intracoastal Waterway. The rest of the island, about 400 acres, is owned by the Boyce family and Virginia-based Riverstone Properties. The city of North Myrtle Beach and a conservation group, Open Space Institute, are negotiating to buy parts of Waties Island not owned by the Coastal Educational Foundation. Photo by Janet Morgan/janet.morgan@myhorrynews.com

The Horry County Coroner's Office is working to determine if bones found on Waties Island Saturday morning are human, according to a new release from Horry County police.

Officers responded to a call reporting possible human bones on Waties Island around 10:15 a.m. Saturday, the release said. The island is an undeveloped, privately-owned island north of Cherry Grove, and just south of the state line.

The police department said it was called in by a group conducting a community trash clean-up, and that the coroner's office will determine if the bones are human. 

Coroner Robert Edge said there were six bones in total.

"Some look human and some we’re not sure about," Edge said, adding that the bones will be sent to an anthropologist in Charleston for examination. Edge said he didn't know when they would get a determination about the bones' origin. 

Right now, police say there's no evidence of a crime or crime scene.

The island used to serve as a fishing outpost for native tribes in the area, and students from Coastal Carolina University often conduct archeological digs on the island. 

The island has a long history on the Grand Strand, and has recently been the subject of negotiations between the city of North Myrtle Beach, the owners and several other institutions who are trying to find a way to preserve one of the last undeveloped beachfronts in Horry County. 

Check back for updates.


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