A missing Florida college student died of ‘multiple blunt force injuries due to a fall,’ a coroner ruled last week, months after her body was found dumped behind a fire station in South Carolina.
Sheridan Wahl, 21, was last seen on September 19 in Myrtle Beach, where she went to visit her father.
Her body was found two days later in Pamplico, South Carolina, at the base of a fire department training tower.
Her body was then taken to the Medical University of South Carolina for an autopsy to determine her cause of the death, and on November 15, Florence County Coroner Keith von Lutcken revealed that she died of ‘multiple blunt force injuries due to a fall.’
Von Lutchken, though, ruled that her cause of death was ‘undetermined.’
‘I can’t say definitively someone didn’t push or throw her off,’ he told WMBF. ‘Likewise, I can’t say she didn’t fall or jump on her own.
‘Therefore, the only options for manner of death is homicide, suicide or accident and we don’t know. That’s why I ruled it as undetermined.’
Sheridan Wahl, 21, was last seen on September 19 in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where she went to visit her father
Her body was found two days later in Pamplico, South Carolina, at the base of the Hannah-Salem Friendfield fire station training tower
Sheridan Wahl’s disappearance
September 19 at around 1pm – Wahl was seen in Myrtle Beach after Facetiming with her mother, who told her to stay the night in South Carolina to avoid a long drive home.
September 19 at 2.23pm – Wahl’s car is found torched and abandoned in a ditch
September 21 at 8.45am – Wahl’s body is found behind the Hannah-Salem Friendfield fire station
Wahl was last seen alive on September 19 at around 1pm, after she Facetimed with her mother, telling her that she had wanted to rent a scooter on South Ocean Boulevard in Myrtle Beach, but had been refused service for not wearing shoes.
Police say that Sheridan told her mom that she was intending to drive home to Tampa – which would have been a nine-hour drive.
Her mom told her to stay the night in Myrtle Beach to avoid a long drive home.
But the family said they didn’t hear from her again after that Facetime call, and her father said she never returned home.
The Myrtle Beach Police Department, meanwhile, has said it determined that Sheridan had left the area safely after opening an investigation a day after her disappearance, according to a tweet released from MBPD in September.
At that time, the local police department requested that South Carolina’s Law Enforcement look into the matter because they have statewide jurisdiction and authority throughout the state.
By around 2.23pm, Wahl’s burgundy-colored Toyota Corolla was found torched and abandoned in a ditch in a corn field, ten miles away from the fire department.
And two days later, Sheridan’s body was found behind the Hannah-Salem Friendfield fire station on Highway 378 – 50 miles west of Myrtle Beach, according to the Florence County Sheriff’s office. It would have been on her way back to Florida.
Wahl was a student at the University of South Florida. She was reportedly acting erratically before she disappeared
A map (pictured) showing the route followed by Sheridan Wahl from Myrtle Beach to Tampa (inset) and on her way back where she disappear. Her burnt car was found in a cornfield close to Scranton and her body 10 miles away behind the Hannah-Salem Friendfield Fire Department
Investigators now say an unidentified driver picked up the University of South Florida student from the scene of the crash and drove her to the firehouse. Von Lutchken said police have spoken to the driver and have taken his statements.
There were no signs she was in an altercation, von Lutchken said, and there were no drugs in her system.
Based on his investigation, von Lutchken determined that Wahl’s body had been at the station for about 18 hours before it was found, meaning that she died at around 2.45pm on September 20.
That leaves her whereabouts unaccounted for for about 24 hours.
The coroner said there were no calls or texts during that time, but noted that witnesses told investigators she was acting unusually and displaying erratic behavior.
He said her cause of death could be updated with new information.
Friends and family posted tributes to her after she disappeared. It remains unclear whether her death was a homicide, suicide or an accident
Following her disappearance, Wahl’s mother posted a tribute to her daughter on Facebook prior to the police release about her ‘cherished and loving daughter, sister, niece and friend.’
‘We are heartbroken beyond belief to share the news that our beloved Sheridan Lynne Wahl has passed,’ Kelly DeArment Wahl wrote.
‘Sheridan was our cherished and loving daughter, sister, niece and friend. She will be missed more than words can ever express.
‘Please note that the case has yet to be closed – and details have not been confirmed. A full statement will be released pending more information. In the meantime, the family graciously requests that their privacy be respected and deeply appreciates the outpouring of love and support from all.’
Her roommate at the University of South Florida Elizabeth Echenique also wrote that ‘she was an amazing musician and many times would sit down to make music for fun and relaxation alone and with friends.’
‘She loved fashion and was very healthy. She was spontaneous and knew how to make you laugh … So, what happened to this kind, loving, talented and beautiful young woman?’