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Death of Jacksonville teen ruled “not a homicide”

18-year-old Elijah Weatherspoon was on a boating trip on the Cooper River in Charleston when he drowned.
Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 7:39 PM EST
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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - The South Carolina Law Enforcement Division, better known as SLED, released its findings in the death of Elijah Weatherspoon, 18, of Jacksonville Friday.

Weatherspoon drowned in the Cooper River in Charleston over the summer.

The over 500-page report details the last minutes of Weatherspoon’s life. It ultimately found his death was not a homicide; ending a long, five-months for his family of not knowing the intimate details surrounding the death of the young man, they called Nicky.

“Just a lot of anticipation in knowing what was in the report,” said Elijah’s aunt, Naiomi Hicks, “We are at least a little bit relieved that we know which way we’re going to go next with the information that we have now.”

WITN News requested the redacted report but has not received it yet. A letter sent by the Charleston County Solicitor’s Office to SLED states the report did not find any evidence of “assaultive behavior.” The letter also details the “heroic efforts to save Weatherspoon.”

Letter from Solicitor Scarlett Wilson to SLED.
Letter from Solicitor Scarlett Wilson to SLED.(WITN)

“I can assure you we’re not just going to take the results of the investigation and sit on it,” said Hicks. “Absolutely not. We’re going to use whatever we can.”

The family is moving forward with legal action, but could not say over what or against whom. However, they did say it was because they remain unconvinced of the report’s findings.

“We still don’t know how he ended up in the water,” said Hicks. “We still don’t know why they never called for help.”

A statement from SLED called the incident a tragic accident, but the state investigative agency declined to comment further.

WITN News also contacted the Charleston County Solicitor Scarlett Wilson for further comment, but she was unavailable.

“I’m sorry I wasn’t there,” said Hicks. “We’re not going to stop until we know the truth. Until justice is served.”

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