Coroner identifies remains found behind home in Cherokee Co.

The Cherokee County Sheriff's Office is investigating a death along Holly Ridge Road in Blacksburg
Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 3:12 PM EST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2023 at 11:11 AM EST
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CHEROKEE COUNTY, S.C. (FOX Carolina) - The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that deputies are investigating after a person was found dead on Nov. 14.

The Cherokee County Coroner’s Office said crews responded to Holly Ridge Road just before noon after a homeowner reported that they found something resembling human remains near a wood area of his property.

Coroner Dennis Fowler stated that crews arrived at the scene and confirmed that it was the “badly decomposed” body of a man. He added that it looked like the body had been there for over a month.

On Nov. 16, the Fowler said the remains were identified to be of a missing person named Russell Lewis Ballew, 44.

According to officials, a family member said the last time they spoke to Ballew, who was considered homeless, was on the phone on Oct.3. At the time, Ballew said he was in the Grover, N.C. area near where the body was located on No. 14.

A missing person report was filed with the sheriff’s office.

Fowler estimates the death occurred between Oct. 3 and Oct.10.

At this time, officials said they see no signs of foul play and are waiting for toxicology test results before ruling cause and manner of death.